GP and accountable officer for NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Sunderland CCG and County Durham CCG, Dr Neil O’Brien, has been helping to support staff on Ward 1 at Chester-le-Street Hospital.
Dr O’Brien, a GP at Cestria Health Centre, Chester-le-Street, said: “Although I spend a lot of my week in a managerial role and in general practice, hospitals urgently need doctors at this time to increase the number of patients we can look after – so I thought I would offer my services.
“It does feel a bit strange, not having worked on a ward for over 20 years, however the hospital staff are incredible, the patients are lovely and looking after the elderly is what we do in general practice every day.”
Dr O’Brien, will continue to lead the three Clinical Commissioning Groups while working three days a week on the hospital ward with his general practice work supported by the clinical staff at Cestria Health Centre.
“The NHS is facing its largest challenge for a generation and I could see just how hard our hospital trust was working to ensure they could look after local people,” said Dr O’Brien.
“They are all doing an incredible job.
“I can do my small bit, but we all need to continue to work together by staying at home, protecting the NHS and helping to save lives – and I know that everyone will do their bit.”
Sue Jacques, chief executive, of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust who manage Chester-le-Street Hospital, added: “It’s fantastic to see Dr O’Brien joining our staff on the wards and wonderful that everyone is pulling together at this time of need.”