Tyne & Wear

North East NHS trusts to merge clinical services

South Tyneside Hospital Image copyright South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust
Image caption South Tyneside will focus on leading hospital rehabilitation and screening services

Two NHS trusts in the north-east of England are integrating their clinical services as they say it is "no longer safe" to continue duplicating them.

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust have formed a health alliance to reconfigure how they work.

The trusts say by working more closely together, the 430,000 patients will receive "high quality" health services.

But South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck called the decision "quite shocking".

The Labour MP said: "There's been no discussion with myself as a local member of parliament, but I think worse, it's absolutely disgusting that there's been no consultation carried out with the people of South Tyneside who use this hospital and use these services."

The trusts currently collaborate on clinical services such as stroke and paediatrics.

Both organisations believe to protect the future of healthcare across both communities, it requires "more significant transformation" of services.

'Huge financial pressures'

Steve Williamson, chief executive of South Tyneside's NHS Hospital Trust, said: "What we've chosen to do is to come together in an alliance to make the most effective use of the resources we've got - that's I think, one of the key ways that we'll be able to make sure that we deliver sustainable, high quality health services in Sunderland and South Tyneside."

The South of Tyne Healthcare Group will see Sunderland focus on providing emergency surgical and planned services, with South Tyneside focusing on leading hospital rehabilitation and screening services.

Peta Clark, from the Royal College of Nursing, said: "It's important to remember that both trusts have already been working in partnership for a number of years.

"The NHS is facing huge financial pressures. So, by working together like this, both trusts can become more efficient. Hopefully this should free up more resources to allow the trusts to spend on frontline care."

Both trusts will continue to function as statutory NHS Foundation Trusts.

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