Teenagers get dedicated waiting room thanks to charitable funds

A new waiting room for teenage looked after children has been designed to provide them with a more positive experience of healthcare and encourage them to attend appointments and annual health checks.

City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and Together for Children worked with young people from the Change Council to design the new waiting room, which is a more private space for those aged 13 and above to socialise and have fun.

The Children’s Centre on Durham Road previously only had one waiting room for children from birth onwards. This room is focussed more around younger children and feedback had shown that teenagers were less likely to attend appointments because of this.

With money donated from the City Hospitals Charitable Fund for Children, Niall Quinn Charity and the OK2 Looked after Fund, the centre has created a dedicated teenage room including a football table, sofas, flat screen TV and music. There is also a range of age appropriate information about health and wellbeing.

Dylan Breeze, 16, who sits on the Change Council cut the ribbon to officially open the new room. He said: “The room looks good and it’s great that we now have an area for younger children and a new separate room for teenagers to hang out and make new friends. The Change Council helped to come up with ideas on what needed to be improved and what could make the time waiting go faster. Before you would just be bored sitting waiting in between appointments, but now we can play table football or just watch some TV.

Dr Kim Barrett, Consultant Paediatrician and Designated Doctor for Safeguarding and Looked After Children, said: “All Looked After children in Sunderland have to attend either six monthly or annual health assessments, depending on their age. We have seen a decline in the number of teenagers attending the clinic and so we have worked with Together for Children, Sunderland (children’s services) to see if we could identify the cause of this. Using patient feedback and talking to Looked After children on the Change Council, it was quickly apparent that many of the young people felt uncomfortable sitting in the same room as younger children and felt bored. Thanks to charitable donations, we have been able to develop a dedicated space for these young people to improve their overall experience of visiting the centre and in turn encourage them to attend appointments.

Huge thanks to everyone that has been involved in the project, especially the CHSFT Looked After Children Health Team, Together for Children Sunderland and especially the young people, who have worked so hard make the young people’s opinions become a reality .”

Jane Wheeler, Participation and Complaints Manager at Together for Children, said: “The young people in Change Council really enjoyed working on the project to design a new waiting room at the Children’s Centre. The new room is a fantastic space and they should be really proud that their efforts have been rewarded with a welcoming space that will be used and enjoyed for years to come.”

Little fundraiser taking steps to help other children at Sunderland Royal


11 July 2017

One of our charity’s youngest fundraisers completed the Great North Toddler Dash on Sunday 9th July. Eva Swinbanks (aged 2) was diagnosed with Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip at 19 months and cared for by staff at Sunderland Royal Ward F63 in January this year.Eva’s mum Natalie was grateful for the care she received, and so decided to get involved by fundraising so they could help other children cared for at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Eva (aged 2) completing the Great North Toddler Dash

“We were so pleased with the care she received from all of the staff at the hospital. They were so good with her considering she was so small and scared and therefore not the easiest of patients. We have decided to do the Great North Toddler Dash on July 9th to raise money for the Paediatric department to say thank you for the excellent care she received.”

Natalie and Eva hope that the money they raise can go towards special equipment for those with conditions like Eva’s; Eva was able to use a special Spica table so that she could sit, eat and play safely while in her cast after her surgery. However they know that it will make a difference in whatever way the Paediatric team are able to use the money they raise.

Maria Lynn, Ward Manager for Ward F63, was delighted to hear that Eva was enjoying being on her feet.

She says: “It meant so much to myself and all the team here on F63 that Eva and Natalie are fundraising to help the boys and girls we’re looking after today. We are so happy to see Eva out enjoying her toddler years after leaving the hospital, and just want to thank her, her mum Natalie and everyone who supported them by cheering or donating – it really makes a difference.”

Federation of Master Builders are a cornerstone of Sunderland community for cancer patients

Members of the Sunderland Federation of Master Builders have raised a phenomenal £1000 to help support patients in Sunderland suffering from cancer and their families.

The Federation of Master Builders is mainly known as a source of high quality builders, but their regional groups, particularly Sunderland, are very passionate about giving back to their community.

The Sunderland members of the Federation have contributed to many worthy causes in the area, but this year have chosen the Cancer Information and Support Centre at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

The group raised the money by hosting a dinner and dance at the Marriot Hotel, Sunderland, with members of the Federation as well as friends and family attending. Secretary Barry Robinson said of the event:

“We were so surprised to raise such an amount. The generosity on the evening from everyone who supported the raffle was overwhelming. We never expected to donate £1,000 and are pleased to support such a worthy cause at our local Hospital – many thanks to all.”

The Sunderland Cancer Information and Support Centre opened at Sunderland Royal Hospital in 2011, initially funded by Macmillan Cancer Support. The centre is now run by City Hospitals Sunderland, with Deborah Spraggon managing the centre day to day.

“We can’t thank members of the Federation of Master Builders enough for their support – it really does make such a difference. Our staff and volunteers are always available to those who need us because of support like this, and we’re even able to provide bandanas, Look Good Feel Better Courses to help build patients self-esteem and confidence about themselves during cancer treatment, and helping patients with financial and legal issues.”

“We wouldn’t be able to do these things without support from the people of Sunderland; the Federation of Master Builders in Sunderland has made a real difference in their community, and I want to thank them on behalf of all our patients and volunteers.”

Don’t let allergies take the spring out of your step

Spring and summer are the time of year when allergies such as asthma, eczema and hay fever can get much worse, with symptoms including sneezing, coughing, skin rashes and shortness of breath.

But there’s no need to get bogged down by runny noses, itchy eyes, irritated skin and tickly throats.

Allergy sufferers can prepare for the spring and summer months by getting the medicines they need from their local pharmacist – who can also offer expert advice to help people manage their health during warmer months.

If symptoms persist, despite the use of over-the-counter medicines, you should get in touch with your GP who may then offer tests to identify the cause.

For more information about hay fever and allergies, visit http://www.nhs.uk/.


Hayfever advice is not to be sniffed at

Hay fever affects around one in four people in the UK with the main triggers being grass and pollen.

As the pollen count climbs, hay fever can make everyday life miserable and tiring, with sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose and an itchy throat among the list of symptoms.

There are lots of medicines and remedies available from local pharmacies to make life more comfortable and stop the negative effects of pollen overload.

Try these top tips to help ease symptoms:

  • Don’t mow your lawn when the pollen count is high
  • Create a barrier by smearing balm on your nostrils or using a nasal spray from your pharmacist.
  • Avoid outside activity when the air is warming up and cooling down, as pollen count is highest.
  • Open bedroom windows at night, but close them in the morning.
  • Dust with a damp or microfibre cloth and vacuum regularly to stop pollen from becoming airborne.
  • Wash your hair – pollen can stick to your hair and then transfer to your pillow.

For further advice, NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can also advise where to go if symptoms of stings or allergies become a cause for concern. For more information visit www.nhs.uk

A few facts about Hayfever

  1. It is estimated that there are more than 10 million people with hay fever in England.
  2. There are around 30 types of pollen that could cause hay fever.
  3. 90% of people in Britain with hay fever are allergic to grass pollen.
  4. Around 25% of people in Britain with hay fever are allergic to pollen from trees, including oak, ash, cedar and birch.
  5. People with an allergy to birch often also experience an allergic reaction to apples, peaches, plums and cherries, as these types of fruit contain a similar protein to birch pollen.
  6. It is possible to be allergic to more than one type of pollen.
  7. In the UK, the pollen count season usually starts late March through to September. However, it can sometimes begin as early as January, or end in November.
  8. Pollen count seasons:
    1. tree pollen – late March to mid-May
    2. grass pollen – mid-May to July
    3. weed pollen – end of June to September
  9. Studies have shown that hay fever can severely affect a person’s quality of life, leading to time off work and school, and affecting children’s school exam results.
  10. People who suffer rhinitis are at increased risk of developing asthma.

Looking after little ones this Summer

Having a poorly child or dealing with a minor injury can be daunting, but parents are often in the best position to help their child get better quickly. Understanding more about common childhood injuries or illnesses can help you decide what to do.

Parents and carers can find NHS advice at their fingertips to help look after their children’s health.

The app gives easy to understand guidance on childhood illnesses, recognising when your child is unwell, and advice on when and where to seek further treatment.

Just search for ‘NHS child health’ on Google Play or Apple’s App Store to download the app today.

Below provides a range of advice for common child ailments:

High temperature

High temperature is a normal response to fight a virus or infection or to cool the body down and does not harm your child. Children with a persistent high temperature (40c or above) who have other symptoms – see below – could have a more serious infection but most will not.

You can usually lower your child’s temperature using paracetamol and / or ibuprofen and removing some of their clothing. Sponging with cool water can make children shiver, which can actually raise their temperature. However, sponging with lukewarm water may help.

Cuts and gashes

Children are always playing and exploring which means they can easily get cuts and scrapes. If there’s a lot of bleeding, press firmly on the wound with a clean cloth, such as a tea towel or flannel. If you don’t have one, use your fingers. Press until the bleeding stops – this might take several minutes.

If possible, raise the injured limb to help stop the bleeding (don’t do this if the limb might be broken, in which case seek medical help). Cover the wound with a clean dressing. If blood soaks through, leave the dressing there and put another over the top.

It’s very unusual for a wound to cause serious blood loss. But if the cut keeps bleeding, or there’s a gap between the edges of the wound, take your child to accident and emergency or a minor injury unit. If there is a possibility of a foreign body (e.g. a piece of glass) in the cut, go straight to A&E.

Sprains and strains

These are very common injuries, especially during physical games and sports.

A sprain is when ligaments have been stretched, twisted or torn and often happens in the knees, ankles, wrists and thumbs. Symptoms can include tenderness/pain, being unable to use the joint normally or put weight on it, swelling and bruising.

Strains are when muscles stretch or tear and are common in the legs and back. Symptoms can include pain, swelling, bruising, spasms and temporary loss of function in the affected muscle.

Generally, a sprained joint should be moved as soon as it is not too painful, whereas a strained muscle should ideally be kept still for a few days.

Most sprains and strains can be cared for at home using PRICE therapy (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation). Painkillers, such as paracetamol, can help and the affected body part will usually be back to normal within a few weeks.

You should take your child for medical advice if the pain is very severe, they cannot put any weight on the injured area, it gives way when they try to use it, the injury looks crooked/has unusual lumps or bumps (other than swelling) or there is numbness or coldness in any part of the area.

Sickness and diarrhoea

Sickness and diarrhoea are common in school age children.

Diarrhoea usually lasts for five to seven days, and for most children it will stop within two weeks. Vomiting often lasts for one to two days, and in most children it will stop within three days. Ask your pharmacist or GP for advice if your child is taking longer to get better.

To stop dehydration, give your child plenty of clear drinks (such as water or clear broth). Avoid fruit juice or squash, which can make things worse. Only give your child food if they want it.

Don’t give anti-diarrhoeal drugs, as they can be dangerous. Oral rehydration treatment from your pharmacist can help.

Help to prevent germs spreading by using separate towels for your child and reminding everyone in the family to wash their hands after using the toilet and before eating.

Don’t return your child to their school or childcare until at least 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting.

Insect bites and stings

Bites and stings are normally harmless and usually only cause minor irritation by becoming red, swollen and itchy for a few days.

You can easily treat them by washing the area with soap and water and placing a cold compress (a flannel or cloth soaked in cold water) over to reduce swelling.

Tell your child to avoid scratching to reduce the chance of infection. If they are in pain, or the area is swollen, use paracetamol or ibuprofen.

See a GP if there’s a lot of swelling and blistering of the area or if there’s pus, which indicates an infection.

In rare cases, some people can have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a bite or sting. Dial 999 for an ambulance if your child experiences :

  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • dizziness or feeling faint
  • confusion, anxiety or agitation.

Coughs and colds

Colds are very common – normal, healthy children can have eight or more colds a year. Young children often develop a chesty cough because they have smaller airways.  This can be worrying but is often not a chest infection – a child with an infection will generally be more unwell.

Colds normally last 7-14 days and are not helped by antibiotics – green discharge from the nose (snot/phlegm) does not indicate an infection. While coughing can be irritating and take a while to go, cough syrups probably do not help and antibiotics aren’t needed. Keep your child’s throat lubricated and their body hydrated with regular drinks of water and encourage them to rest.

Burns and scalds

Immediately place the area under cold running water to take the heat out of the skin. Don’t do this for longer than 10 minutes, as babies and toddlers can get too cold. If there’s no running water, immerse the burn or scald in cold water or any other cool fluid, such as milk or a cold drink.

Use something clean and non-fluffy, like a cotton pillowcase or clingfilm, to cover the burn or scald and reduce the danger of infection.

If your child’s clothes are stuck to the skin, don’t try to take them off. If the burn is not calmed by the above actions, don’t put any ointments or creams on, as it will have to be cleaned off before the area can be treated. Depending on how severe it is, see your GP or go to a minor injuries unit or accident and emergency department.

Blisters will burst naturally. The raw area underneath needs a protective dressing. Ask your pharmacist or practice nurse for advice.

In all cases, if you are still worried about your child after caring for them at home, get further advice from your GP surgery or by calling NHS 111. In an emergency situation, dial 999 for an ambulance.

Signs of possible serious illness:

  • Your child is very drowsy or irritable and doesn’t improve after taking paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  • Your child has problems breathing – e.g. rapid breaths, short of breath or ’working hard’ to breathe (which sometimes looks as though the skin below the ribs gets sucked in when they inhale).
  • Cold or discoloured hands or feet with a warm body.
  • Unusual skin colour (pale or blue around lips)
  • Persistent high temperature (40c or above) which does not come down with treatment.
  • An infant who is not feeding or any child showing signs of dehydration.

Putting their neck out for patients

26 June 2017

Members of staff from Sunderland Royal Hospital as well as the colleague of a patient have raised an amazing £2,500 to support patients with head and neck cancers.

Mandeep Bhabra (Speech and Language Therapist), Mr Michael Nugent (Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon) and Ms Nashreen Oozeer (Ear, Nose and Throat Consultant) and Robert Otterson of Carillion Training Services took part in the Sunderland 10K – Consultant Surgeon Mr Christopher Hartley also completed the Sunderland Half Marathon, but on crutches because of a severe knee injury.

Head and neck cancers include some of the less common types of cancer, with around 10,000 individuals diagnosed in the UK each year. Nonetheless the conditions have a huge impact on the lives of those living with them; the most common head and neck cancer is of the mouth (also known as oral cancer) which has the capacity to affect almost all areas of someone’s life.

That the Sunderland Royal Head and Neck team are undertaking such vital work to save and support individuals with these cancers every day, and then go above and beyond training and fundraising in their own time, speaks of the calibre of hospital staff in Sunderland.

Mr Hartley has been a Consultant at Sunderland Royal Hospital since 2003, and was lead cancer clinician for 7 years of his career in Sunderland. On he and the team’s inspiration to fundraise, he said:

Firstly we hope to raise the profile of head and neck cancer in the region, but also to have funds to enhance the care of our patients. Specifically, there are some items of equipment that we may be able to fund in part from our hospital charity which will enable us to reduce the side effects of treatment in many of our patients.

Mr Hartley received a great deal of support on the day from the people of Sunderland, with many clearly inspired by his dedication to complete the course even with an injury, and managed to complete the course in 02:44:25 despite the handicap.

Robert Otterson completed the 10K and raised £1,129 (more than double his target) in honour of Steve Olsen, a colleague of his and himself a patient at Sunderland Royal Hospital. “Steve is a top bloke and so raising this sum to support people with head and neck cancer in Sunderland is the least I could do. I’ve had a huge amount of support from my employer Carillion, who are committed to doing go od as they go about business and really believe in Sunderland.”

Robert and line manager Ralph Need who have worked closely with Mr Olsen for 15 years, were able to stop by Sunderland Royal Hospital to meet some of the head and neck team and Mr Olsen’s parents – all of which were touched by Robert and Carillion’s passion for their cause.

Supporting Reserves’ day 2017

Yesterday we celebrated Reserves’ Day, an opportunity for us to recognise staff across the Trust who give their time to support the Reserve Forces.

As an Armed Forces Friendly employer and silver recognition award holder, the Trust was chosen as one of only two local organisations to be selected for a visit by representatives of the Royal Navy.

Brigadier Richard Spencer OBE ADC, Captain Robert Anderson and Commander Ian Berry MBE RD spent a couple of hours at the hospital and met with Chief Executive, Ken Bremner, Director of HR and OD, Kath Griffin and Consultant General Surgeon and Reservist, Peter Small.

The group then went into the hospital to speak to Army Reserves, Shlok Balupuri (Consultant General Surgeon) and Alexandra Cairns (Staff Nurse in ED). They were specifically interested in how the experience of being a reserve can enrich their working life and what support they are given by the Trust for training / deployment.


Finally, they went to the Staff Dining Room to speak to volunteers who were manning a Military Intelligence Battalion Recruitment stand.

Reserves’ Day celebrates all of those who make up the Reserve Forces. This is an opportunity to recognise the valuable contribution Reservists make to our Armed Forces. As well as recently signing a special covenant outlining how the Trust pledges to support the armed forces and their families within the hospital and the local community, we also support various events throughout the year, such as Armed Forces Day and Medical Challenge and have a dedicated intranet page and Armed Forces Champion, Kath Griffin, who is also the Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development.

Ken Bremner, Chief Executive of City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have 15 Trust employees who are reserves within the armed forces, including the British Army and Royal Navy and there are up to 8,000 others employed within the NHS. The UK heavily relies on the contribution made by our reservists and the armed forces and we very much recognise the values that they bring to the Trust. We also employ a number of veterans and are looking at initiatives that will provide work placement opportunities and guaranteed interviews where they have skills that match a role.”

Public Consultation – ‘The Path to Excellence’ – to commence 5 July 2017


21 June 2017

Public Consultation – ‘The Path to Excellence’  – how we create the best possible improvements for healthcare in South Tyneside and Sunderland

A public consultation around the different ways stroke, maternity (obstetrics), women’s services (gynaecology) and children and young people’s urgent and emergency (paediatrics) NHS services could be arranged in South Tyneside and Sunderland will start in July 2017.


What is it?

A consultation to gather public views around the different ways some aspects of NHS hospital services could be arranged in South Tyneside and Sunderland will start on 5th July.

It will run for 14 and a half weeks from Wednesday 5th July until Sunday 15th October, and will focus particularly on some areas of hospital care which are delivered at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital including:

  • Stroke services specifically hospital (acute) care and hospital-based rehabilitation services
  • Maternity services (obstetrics) covering hospital-based birthing facilities i.e. where you would give birth to your baby
  • Women’s services (gynaecology) covering inpatient surgery where you would need an overnight hospital stay
  • Children and young people’s (paediatrics urgent and emergency) services and special care baby units.

This period of consultation will include a series of public events and a range of ways for local people to get involved, find out more about the issues under consideration and to give their views.

Read the media release

Local NHS clinical leaders will explain the challenges around the way these services are currently being delivered, the different ways local doctors, nurses and hospital-based therapy staff think these services could be provided both now and in the future, and listen to public feedback about these different proposals.


How to get involved:

  • Attend an event: Click here for dates and venues. and information on how to register.
  • Hold a focus group: We are keen to hear from group who work with people who may face barriers to taking part in this consultation.
  • Complete our survey: Access this online or request a paper copy by contacting us using the details below.  This will be available from 5 July 2017.
  • Email: nhs.excellence@nhs.net
  • Facebook: Search: nhsexcellence
  • Twitter: @NHSexcellence
  • Call: 0191 217 2670