Healthcare leaders have announced a temporary reduction in the opening hours of the Urgent Care for Children service at South Tyneside District Hospital.

With effect from today (Monday March 7th), the nurse-led service will be open every day from 9am until 9pm. The usual opening hours are 8am to 10pm.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said the temporary change has been necessary due to unforeseen staffing challenges.

Parents are being reassured that the service will continue to be available for 12 hours every day to see and treat the vast majority of children who attend hospital with urgent, but not life threatening, problems. This includes:

  • Broken bones
  • Children who have mild breathing problems
  • Common childhood infections in the chest, ears or throat
  • Children who are being sick or have diarrhoea
  • Cuts and open wounds that need closing
  • Minor burns
  • Minor bumps or head injuries
  • Sprained ankles or strained muscles.

The temporary change is as the Trust manages some immediate and unforeseen staffing challenges within the paediatric nursing workforce and has been welcomed by nursing staff to help ease pressure on the current workforce.  It means the service will open one hour later at 9am (instead of 8am) and close one hour earlier each day at 9pm (instead of 10pm).

The Trust is making sure that all key health and care partners including GPs, NHS 111 and the North East Ambulance Service are aware of the temporary change and will also share targeted information for schools and parents or carers of young children across the Borough.

Medical Director at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Shaz Wahid said:  “Our paediatric nursing team at South Tyneside District Hospital will continue to be available every day from 9am until 9pm and this temporary change will affect a very small number of children. We hope to resume our normal operating hours as soon as the immediate staffing issues are resolved and I would like to thank all staff within the paediatric team for their ongoing support.

“As always, we would remind people to call NHS 111 if they need urgent medical advice about their child and, of course, dial 999 in a life threatening emergency.”

Click here to download the South Tyneside Urgent Care for Children information leaflet.