STRUCTURE: The transfer of community services to South Tyneside Foundation Trust has been completed and welcomed by commissioners and the Royal College of Nursing.

South Tyneside Foundation Trust announced it was the new provider of community health services from today 1 July in Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

RCN regional director Glenn Turp said: “We welcome the integration of community and acute hospital services, because this keeps healthcare within the NHS family. South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust is now perfectly placed to deliver seamless community care. We look forward to seeing how the trust will deliver this for patients in Gateshead and Sunderland too.”

It involves 42 different community health services ranging from district nursing and health visiting to specialist areas such as palliative care, with a £102m budget and about 2,900 staff.

Chief Executive Lorraine Lambert, said: “This is one of the most significant milestones in the history of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust. Bringing together community and hospital-based services in this way presents us with a really exciting opportunity to improve patient care by offering a more integrated approach.”

NHS South of Tyne and Wear chief executive Karen Straughair said: “Our community health services in Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland provide excellent patient care and I am sure that the services, and the skills of the staff who work in them, will be developed in the future for the benefit of local patients through an integrated approach to providing high quality, seamless care.”