‘The Path to Excellence’ public consultation: how we create the best possible improvements for health care in South Tyneside and Sunderland

Wed 21st June 2017


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 in July 2017.

Called ‘The Path to Excellence’, the public consultation will run for 14-and-a-half weeks from Wednesday 5 July until Sunday 15 October, and will focus particularly on 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 and special care baby units
  • 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

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.

Dr Shaz Wahid, Medical Director for South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, said this was an exciting time for the NHS in South Tyneside and Sunderland as the consultation provides the opportunity to make big improvements to hospital services and patient care.

Dr Wahid said: “We want to explain the current challenges we have around how these services are being delivered at the moment, and present some proposals on the different ways our clinical teams think some services could be delivered in the future.

“We will share the information we’ve used to come up with our proposals, for example, the best practice clinical evidence from the Royal Colleges, feedback from patient experiences and engagement, to name but a few.”

Dr Matthew Walmsey, a local GP and Chair of NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said the consultation had been planned to allow local people lots of opportunities to get involved in the discussions.

He said: “We want people to understand that we have clinical issues driving these proposals and any future changes to the way services are organised would only be made in order to improve the quality and safety of those services for the future.

“Any changes need to make the best use of our most important resource – our clinical staff – so we can meet the healthcare needs of our patients both now and in the future.”

There will be a number of ways local people can get involved including public question and answer session, discussion events and opportunities to look at particular service proposals in detail, as well as a paper and online survey.

Information will be published on the Path to Excellence programme website, including an independent travel impact review, current hospital service quality indicators and information about resources and finances.

Ian Martin, Medical Director for City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said he understood that local people might be concerned when they hear of the need to make some changes to the way some local services are provided, and urged people to find out more before forming an opinion.

He said: “We really hope that local people will take the opportunity to listen to the issues and think about the challenges we face locally and tell us how these potential changes may affect them or if they have ideas on how the proposals could be improved.”

Dr Ian Pattison, a local GP and Chair of NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is a very important opportunity for local people to hear directly from their own local doctors, nurses and therapists who are working in these services and understand the problems we face due to the way these particular services are currently arranged and how we think we can improve them.

“People care passionately about our NHS and we all have that in common. I hope that we can discuss these often complex issues together so we can make improvements that will have a real and lasting positive impact on people’s health outcomes.”

The proposals will be published on the programme website on Wednesday 5 July – the first day of the public consultation – and local clinical leaders will present them at a series of planned public events.

Feedback from the public will be analysed into themes and publicly reported to ensure it influences the final decisions, which will be made by the two CCGs later in the year.

The Path to Excellence programme is led by a partnership of local NHS organisations including NHS South Tyneside CCG, NHS Sunderland CCG, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust – working together as the South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Partnership.

Between them, they are responsible for commissioning (planning, choosing and buying) and delivering many of the major healthcare services across the area, including the healthcare services we talk about improving in these public consultation proposals.

How to get involved:

There are a number of ways you can get involved to ensure your views are heard. All information about the different ways to be involved is available at

Attend a public event

Different types of events are planned across both South Tyneside and Sunderland areas over the 14-and-a-half week period at different times, days of the week and locations.

These include consultation launch events on 5 July, where the options for consultation will be presented for the first time and people can hear from clinical leaders and ask questions.

There will also be a launch event in Murton, County Durham, so that people living in the Seaham and Easington areas who use services provided by City Hospitals Sunderland are able to understand and consider the proposals.

There will be further discussion-style events which allow people to consider all the options being proposed.

There will also be service-specific focused events designed to give the opportunity to consider in more detail the areas of care under consideration.

People are asked to register for the events in advance to ensure they are well staffed and managed in order to get the very best out of them.

Further information about these different events is included in this briefing and there will be publicity to promote them and all the different ways in which people can give their views.


Complete a survey – online or on paper

A survey will go live on 5 July.  This can be found on the programme website, with paper copies are also available.  Paper copies will include a Freepost address. The final deadline for survey returns is midnight, Sunday 15 October 2017.

Provide an individual or organisational response or submission

Responses are welcomed from individuals or organisations. Please ensure these are submitted before the end of the consultation period at midnight, Sunday 15 October.

Offer to hold a focus group or event

We are keen to hear from groups or organisations who work with people who may face barriers to taking part in this consultation and, in particular, represent people in society who may be more impacted by any potential changes. We can offer support and a small payment.

If you would be interested in holding a group then please contact the programme.


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The Path to Excellence


North of England Commissioning Support

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Goldcrest Way

Newcastle upon Tyne

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Public consultation events

DateTimeEvent TypeLocationVenue Registration
Wednesday 5th July1-3pmLaunch eventSouth TynesideJarrow Community Centre, Cambrian Street, Jarrow, NE32 3QNregister
Wednesday, 5th July6-8pmLaunch eventSunderlandHope Street Xchange, 1-3 Hind Street, Sunderland, SR1 3QDregister
Thursday 6th July6-8pmLaunch eventDurhamGlebe Centre, Durham Place, Murton, Seaham, SR7 9BXregister
Tuesday 11th July6-8pmFocused event on maternity, women’s and children’s servicesSunderlandHope Street Xchange, 1-3 Hind Street, Sunderland, SR1 3QDregister
Wednesday 12th July6-8pmConsultation discussion eventSouth TynesideCustoms House, Mill Dam, South Shields, NE33 1ESregister
Saturday 15th July10am-12 noonFocused event on maternity, women’s and children’s servicesSouth TynesideThe Clervaux Exchange, Clervaux Place, Jarrow, NE32 5UPregister
Tuesday 18th July6-8pmFocused event on stroke servicesSunderlandSunderland Bangladeshi International Centre, 30 Tatham Street, Sunderland, SR1 2QDregister
Wednesday 19th July6-8pmFocused event on stroke servicesSouth TynesideLiving Waters Church, St. Jude’s Terrace, Laygate, South Shields, NE33 5PBregister
Wednesday 26th July1-3pmConsultation discussion eventSunderlandSunderland Software Centre, Tavistock Place, Sunderland, SR1 1PBregister
Wednesday 13th September1-3pmConsultation discussion eventSouth TynesideCustoms House, Mill Dam, South Shields, NE33 1ESregister
Saturday 16th September10am-12 noonConsultation discussion eventSunderlandThe Hetton Centre, Welfare Road, Hetton-le-Hole, Houghton le Spring, DH5 9NEregister

Join the discussion