• North east leaders have drawn up a draft case for a second wave of hospital reconfiguration
  • The proposals will outline how emergency and elective care in Sunderland and South Tyneside are provided
  • Final plans are due to be put out to public consultation by summer 2019

Leaders are drawing up plans to shake up emergency and elective care services as part of a second wave of hospital reconfiguration due for consultation next year.

Clinical commissioning group and hospital trust bosses in Sunderland and South Tyneside are drawing up a draft case for change, to outline the second phase of the region’s acute reconfiguration plans.

The two trusts and CCGs are aiming to publish the draft by the end of July and have the final plans ready for a full public consultation by summer 2019.

The plans will focus on:

  • emergency and acute care, including accident and emergency and ambulatory care;
  • emergency surgery and critical care, including trauma and orthopaedics and intensive care;
  • planned surgery, including cardiology, respiratory, gastrointestinal and general surgery; and
  • clinical support services, including hospital pharmacy, radiology and therapy services.

This is the next phase of the “pathway to excellence” programme which aims to tackle the recruitment challenges, inability to hit clinical standards, difficulty meeting national guidelines and reducing the bill for locum doctors.

Sunderland and South Tyneside CCGs agreed plans last year to centralise hospital based stroke, maternity, gynaecology and paediatric services at Sunderland Royal Hospital, run by City Hospitals Sunderland Foundation Trust.

Although those plans were referred to health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt by the two councils, health leaders are preparing for the next phase of the project.

CHSFT and STFT last month agreed to push ahead with merger plans to form a single organisation, building on their joint chief executive and joint executive board as part of the South Tyneside and Sunderland Healthcare Group.

A report about the draft case for change was submitted to Sunderland and South Tyneside Health Scrutiny Joint Committee last week.

The report did not outline specific plans for any of the services under scrutiny but said that the integration of the two hospital’s teams will: provide better access to 24/7 consultant led care; improve training for surgical trainees; improve efficiency; and eliminate variations in care.

The report added that in South Tyneside “financial sustainability is significant drive for the changes needed and this will need to be carefully assessed as options are developed”.