Tyne & Wear

South Tyneside Hospital children's A&E closure continues

South Tyneside Hospital
Image caption Health bosses said the temporary closure had had a "minimum impact"

Children's services at South Tyneside Hospital could be disrupted for a further month due to staff sickness.

Opening hours were restricted in the paediatric accident and emergency department last month after an "unexpected" increase in absence.

Bosses said there had since been a "marginal improvement" in sickness levels but it was "not yet sufficient" to allow 24-hour opening to resume.

The assessment unit is currently closed between 22:00 and 08:00 BST.

Helen Ray, chief operating officer at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, said the change had had a "minimum impact" as "very small numbers" of children used the department overnight.

She said: "While it is possible that the overnight assessment service will not be available for a further four weeks, we are continuously reviewing the situation."

Families in the area can use emergency departments at Sunderland Royal Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead or Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary while the South Tyneside unit is closed.

Ms Ray apologised for the disruption and said there was no plan to make the changes permanent.

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