North East and North Cumbria NHS thanks patients and staff for their support over the cyber attack

Media update 4pm 17th May 2017

As NHS organisations across the region start to return to normal services, NHS leaders want to thank patients, NHS staff and their families whose combined efforts has meant the impact on patient care has kept to a minimum.

Patients have been understanding and supportive of the NHS by using services wisely, which allowed local organisations to deal with the cyber-attack and protect their computer systems and therefore recover more quickly.

GP practices across the North East are continuing to ask patients to consider delaying contacting their practice unless they really need to for the rest of the week, so to allow time to clear backlogs caused by the cyber-attack and bring services back to full capacity.

Speaking on behalf of NHS organisations, Dr Neil O’Brien, who is chair of the Northern Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Forum said:

“Across the region’s NHS we’ve heard countless stories of NHS teams and individuals who have gone above and beyond to help deal with the cyber-attack. From NHS frontline staff in hospitals, IT and support staff, GP and practice staff, community pharmacists, out of hours doctors and their teams, NHS 111, paramedics and emergency call teams – our staff response has been nothing short of superb.

Dr O’Brien continued: “I’d like to particularly thank the families of our staff also, they have supported their relative at home to allow them to come to work and respond in the way they did.

“I would also like to thank our local and regional journalists and media organisations, who have played an important role in getting essential messages out. This without doubt played a critical role in helping public and patients understand the situation and what they needed to do for their own health needs.

“We do need to understand why this has happened and it is important that work to gain insight is carried out in a co-ordinated way with all NHS partners and this will take some time.”

Dr O’Brien concluded: “How we have responded to this situation just shows how our whole NHS community is greater than the simple sum of its parts, and makes us all proud to serve our patients and public together, making sure they get the best and safest healthcare possible.”

Although the NHS is starting to return to normal, the public is still asked to think before using A&E, GP practices or calling NHS 111 and to use services wisely.


NHS Cyber Attack – City Hospitals Sunderland update – Tuesday 16th May

Following the international cyber-attack on Friday, IT systems at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust have been restored and we are running all hospital services as normal.

Whilst we were not directly affected, we did take a number of precautions to protect our systems, which had an impact on telephone systems, email and internet connection.

Please continue to attend all appointments unless you are told not to. Minor illness or ailments can be treated at home, or you can visit your local pharmacy for help and advice. If you feel unwell and need to be seen immediately, you can contact your GP or call NHS 111. Services are very busy at the moment, so if you are able to wait until later in the week for an appointment, please do so and help us to alleviate the current pressures.

A&E and the 999 service should only be used where there is an immediate threat to life or limb. This includes:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Significant blood loss
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Suspected stroke
  • Severe burns
  • Choking

Thank you for your patience and understanding. For the latest updates on how this is affecting the NHS across the north east, visit

NHS Cyber Attack – City Hospitals Sunderland update

On Friday the NHS suffered a cyber-attack which caused disruption to IT services across a range of industry sectors nationally. Whilst City Hospitals Sunderland was not one of the trusts directly affected, we have taken a number of precautions to protect our systems and ask the public to bear with us while systems are being restored.

We are currently running hospital services as normal and would ask patients to attend appointments as normal, unless you are contacted and told not to. Please also bring with you any hospital letters and medication.

We do expect the hospital and Eye Infirmary to be busier than normal during the recovery of NHS IT across the region and would ask for your support by using our services responsibly.

Please do not attend A&E or dial 999 unless it is a serious or life threatening emergency. If you feel unwell and need help and advice, you can speak to your local pharmacy, GP or NHS 111 service.

For the latest updates on how this is affecting the NHS across the north east, visit


Region’s NHS reassures public following global cyber attack and asks for help in using services wisely

13 May 2017

Issued on behalf of the region’s NHS providers

NHS providers in the North East and North Cumbria are reassuring patients and the public following the cyber attack which took place on Friday, 12 May 2017 and affected many organisations around the world.

A number of NHS organisations in the North East and North Cumbria have been directly affected by the virus and had to completely shut down IT systems yesterday.  These include:

  • Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Primary care providers (GP services) across the region

Those NHS organisations in the region who were not directly affected by the virus also closed their external servers yesterday as a precautionary step to ensure the virus could not spread.  NHS staff in the region who work remotely are being reminded not to switch on NHS laptops or computers until confirmed by their line manager.

All services in the region are running as usual with effective business continuity plans in action to ensure safe patient care at all times.  NHS staff across the region are working incredibly hard to ensure IT systems which have been directly affected can be restored as safely and effectively as possible.

The public are being asked to help the NHS to relieve pressure on the system at this time:

  • Please do not attend A&E or dial 999 unless it is a serious or life threatening emergency
  • The NHS 111 service is under increased pressure so please think carefully before accessing urgent medical help
  • Remember many common illnesses can be best looked after at home with over the counter medication, plenty of fluids, rest and recuperation
  • High street pharmacists are open this weekend and can help if you start to feel unwell with a cough, cold or other minor ailment or injury
  • Parents and carers of under fives can get medical advice on a range of common childhood illnesses from the ‘NHS Child Health’ app available from Google Play or the App store.

The region’s NHS is keen to reassure people that all services are running and people should continue to access emergency services in the usual way if there is a genuine need for urgent medical help.

Those attending the region’s emergency departments or calling 999 for an emergency ambulance with minor problems should expect a longer wait than usual given the current IT pressures and as clinical teams must prioritise those with time critical needs.

NHS staff in the region are being thanked for their tremendous efforts to continue providing safe patient care in these difficult circumstances.  NHS organisations have been overwhelmed with messages of support from off duty staff – any staff who are able to help this weekend should contact their line manager in the first instance.


Please note NHS teams are busy dealing with operational issues and unable to accept interview requests.  Please use this as a basis for public messaging.

A further update will be issued on Sunday 14 May.


Baby on Board badges: Metro’s new initiative helping mums-to-be

L-R Emma Gibson, Midwife from South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust; Sheila Ford, Head of Midwifery, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust; and Alison Gibson, Community Midwife from Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust

The Tyne and Wear Metro has launched its own Baby on Board badges to help pregnant women get a seat when they need it.

Nexus, which owns and manages Metro, is introducing the scheme to make travel on Metro that little bit easier for expectant mums.

The badges are designed to overcome the awkwardness often felt by pregnant women in having to ask someone to give up their seat on the Metro.

Each badge bears the slogan ‘Baby on Board’ and has the iconic Metro logo underneath in Metro’s traditional yellow and black colour-scheme.

And Metro chiefs are also introducing an ‘I Need a Seat’ badge for people less able to stand, including those with a disability, elderly people, injured people, or people with hidden disabilities and conditions.

The badges, which also come as key rings, are free and will be available from all Nexus Travel Shops from Wednesday 17 May. Midwives throughout Tyne and Wear will also hand out the Baby on Board badges to expectant mums.

Managing Director of Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, said: “I hope that passengers will embrace this innovative scheme and that mums-to-be who wear the badges find travelling on Metro even easier as a result.

“Commuters might not always notice straight away if someone nearby needs a seat, and we’ve all been in that situation where we’re too nervous to ask whether someone needs a seat, in fear that we might be wrong and cause offence.

“The Baby on Board badge is designed to help women at all stages of pregnancy feel more confident on the Metro, and to make journeys less awkward for pregnant women and fellow passengers alike.”

Sheila Ford, head of midwifery at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The badges will be particularly useful for those in early stage pregnancy who might not be obviously pregnant and might be too embarrassed to ask a fellow passenger to give up their seat.

“It’s much easier to get a seat when you have a visible, obvious bump, but in the early stages of pregnancy you are likely to start feeling nauseous, tired and lightheaded – not a good combination when you’re in the middle of a busy commute – so being offered a seat makes travel safer as well as more comfortable.

“Having a Baby on Board badge will make it easier by letting other passengers know that you have a very good reason to need a seat.”

Information about the scheme will be displayed on carriage cards on board Metro trains.

The scheme was first introduced on London Underground after a report revealed that pregnant passengers were made to stand for an average of five stops before being offered a seat, and 35 per cent of mums-to-be were never offered a seat.

The Duchess of Cambridge was famously presented with a Baby on Board badge on a Royal visit to the London Tube in 2013 when she was expecting Prince George.

All Metro trains already have a number of designated priority seats intended for those passengers in greatest need of a seat, such as people with a disability, elderly passengers, expectant mothers or people less able to stand. A priority seat can be used by any passenger, but wherever possible they should be given up to someone with greater need.

Transport for London also launched a similar Please Offer Me a Seat scheme in autumn last year for disabled people and people with hidden conditions. In the successful trial, participants reported 72% of journeys as being easier as a result of the badge and on 86% of journeys participants reported feeling more confident when asking for a seat. Metro hope that their scheme will prove just as successful, if not more so, for passengers in Tyne and Wear.

For more information on the Baby on Board and I Need a Seat schemes, visit or visit your local Nexus TravelShop.

Nurse / midwife recruitment evening – Wednesday 17 May 4-7pm

We will be holding a recruitment evening for registered nurses and midwives looking for a new challenge, or student nurses/midwives looking to start their career.

The event will take place on Wednesday 17 May between 4-7pm at the Education Centre next to Sunderland Royal Hospital. There will be the opportunity to talk to clinical staff from across the Trust as well as general information about roles available and how we support and develop our nursing and midwifery teams.

Why City Hospitals Sunderland?

We aim to be the first choice for patients locally, regionally and in some cases nationally. To achieve this we need to ensure that our team is the very best in the healthcare industry.

We are committed to making sure that our nursing and midwifery teams are able to develop to their full potential and are able to progress their careers here with us.

We are already engaging with local universities to start working with student nurses before they graduate. This gives them a seamless transition into working for the Trust and the confidence to immediately make their mark. As part of this, we were one of the first trusts to offer a Preceptorship programme. Newly qualified nurses and midwives are teamed up with experienced colleagues who can guide and mentor them through their initial months at the Trust.

We are continually investing in patient care and facilities. Our brand new Emergency Department opens this month and will be a new concept in providing emergency care. We are developing a new diagnostic and treatment centre in Durham that will open in Spring 2018 and will specialise in renal and urology services. Our Eye Infirmary is renowned across the country and we have recently upgraded specialist areas such as our Integrated Critical Care and Endscopy Unit and of course the Bariatric Patient Unit, which was recently featured on the television documentary “Weight Loss Ward”.

We are a research and innovation centre, which means that we are always looking at how we can improve patient care and embrace new technologies to provide an NHS for the future.

How do I find out more?

If you want to be part of a fun, caring and dedicated team come along to our open evening, or take a look at the dedicated page on our website –



Dying Matters Awareness Week – 8-14 May

Did you know that only 35% of adults said that they have made a will and only 30% have talked about their wishes after death?

Dying doesn’t have to be a taboo subject. It’s something that we will all experience at some point in our lives. Dying Matters Awareness Week aims to raise public awareness about the importance of talking more openly about dying, death and bereavement and making sure your wishes are known.

Dying Matters was set up by the National Council for Palliative Care. National figures showed that people felt more comfortable talking to friends and family about politics, money and religion, than they did about death.

The theme this year is ‘What Can You Do?”. It aims to get people more active in planning for dying and death and helping support those around them who might need it in times of grief and bereavement.

During the week, City Hospitals Sunderland will be providing support and advice on the following topics:

  • My Funeral Wishes
  • Organ Donation
  • Time to talk?
  • Being There
  • Putting your house in order
  • Talking to children about dying
  • What to do if someone you know has been bereaved
  • Five things to do before I die!
  • One last thing
  • Have you made a Will?
  • Would you know how to do a Will?
  • Do your family know your wishes?
  • Have you got a Bucket List?

For more information visit the dying matters website at or pop down and see the team on the main concourse (Kayll Road entrance) between 1.30pm and 3.30pm Monday 8th – Friday 12th May 2017.



Bladder Cancer Support Group Meetings – 2017

Within the Sunderland Urology Department, we have set up a bladder cancer support group for our patients – the catchment area of which includes Sunderland, Durham and South Tyneside. Within these areas we diagnose and treat a large number of patients with bladder cancer and the aim of this group is to offer ongoing support in an open, sensitive and safe environment.

The group is to both patients, and their families, who are newly diagnosed or are undergoing current treatments or surveillance programmes. The group will be meeting on the dates listed below throughout 2017 in the Education Centre at Sunderland Royal Hospital from 5 to 7 pm.

  • 5 April 2017
  • 14 June 2017
  • 13 September 2017 

At this forum patients and their families have the opportunity to chat and discuss any concerns or questions you may have regarding your diagnosis or treatment.

There is no need to book. If you have a diagnosis of bladder cancer and feel the opportunity to chat to someone would be helpful, do please come along. Refreshments will be provided.

For further information about the group, please contact: Sandra Hargreaves (


For futher information relating to cancer and the support available, please visit the Macmillan Information Centre at Sunderland Royal Hospital, on B Floor.


Information relating to bladder cancer can also be found at


CHS sweeps the board at Sunderland and South Tyneside Health Awards

City Hospitals Sunderland swept the board with a whopping seven category wins at the Sunderland and South Tyneside Health Awards.

The Awards, presented by the Sunderland Echo and Shields Gazette recognise people across the health sector who provide outstanding patient care and always go the extra mile.

This is a great achievement for the Trust and celebrates the fantastic efforts and dedication of many members of the team.

To top the celebrations off, Director of Corporate Affairs and Legal, Carol Harries was presented with the Special Recognition Award, chosen by the Sunderland Echo and Shields Gazette. Carol has been with the Trust since 1972 and was hailed as a ‘great ambassador for Sunderland’.

Here are the list of winners and nominees from Sunderland City Hospitals Trust:

Special Recognition Award (chosen by the Sunderland Echo and Shields Gazette)

Winner – Carol Harries, Director of Corporate Affairs and Legal

Hospital Doctor of the Year

Winner – Chris Phillips, ED Consultant

Nominees – Ralph Marsh, Consultant Radiologist and Hilary Turner, Consultant Anaesthetist.

Nurse of the Year

Winner – Sue Crossman, Nurse Manager, Colposcopy

Nominees – Lesley Waugh (Phoenix Unit) and Lesley Taylor (Ward F61)

Therapist of the Year

Nominee – Christina Harrison, Physio Technical Instructor

Care Worker of the Year

Nominee – Sammy Jo Green

Midwife of the Year

Winners – Catherine Carter, Substance Misuse Midwife and Janette Johnson, ANNB Screening Lead

Pharmacist of the Year

Nominee – Thomas Harris, ED Pharmacist

Team of the Year

Winner – Renal Satellite Units

Nominees – Neonatal Unit and Haygarth Ward (Sunderland Eye Infirmary)

Customer Service / Unsung Hero Award

Winner – Steven Hogg, Volunteer

Nominees – Emelita Berber Smith, Clerical Officer, OPD Helpdesk and Jacqui Christie, Cancer Imaging Service Co-ordinator

Health Care Scientist

Winner – Neurophysiology

Long Term Achievement

Nominee – Helen Blackman, Sister, Renal Unit


Star Award for Paediatric Team

Our Paediatrics Team has been presented with the Healthwatch Sunderland Star Award.

The Award is given in recognition of the continuing positive feedback received about staff and services over a period of time.

Healthwatch Sunderland’s main role is to listen and collate people view of health and social care services within Sunderland. To ensure that these services or individuals get to hear about the great feedback given about them, a star award was introduced.

Matron, Rachel Patterson joined colleagues in the Niall Quin Children’s Centre to receive the award.

 Some of the feedback received by Healthwatch Sunderland included:

“The consultant was fantastic, all staff we came into contact with at the centre were fantastic, friendly and patient and I cannot praise them enough.”

“Helpful & nicest people, doctor is so down to earth, helpful, doctor is an outstanding person & it is a great pleasure.”

“Care was really good, All the nurses and doctors were very friendly, they had already read the notes and our history of treatment.”

Commenting on the Star Award, a spokesperson said: “Healthwatch Sunderland is proud to recognise the contribution staff and services make to the success of social care and health services in our city. The people and teams that go the extra mile to make your experiences great are all stars and deserve to be congratulated.”