SOUTH Tynesiders are being urged to have their say over the future of specialist mental health services in the borough at three public meetings this month.
A consultation process has been launched centred on the future of the Bede Wing in the grounds of South Tyneside District Hospital.
It will also seek to explore the long-term viability of ward 18 at the South Shields hospital for treating elderly patients with psychiatric problems.
Options include the transfer of mental health in-patient services from South Tyneside to the new Hopewood Park mental health hospital in Ryhope, Sunderland, currently being built to replace the city’s Cherry Knowle Hospital.
Coun George Elsom, the independent deputy leader of South Tyneside Council, has expressed concern about the proposals.
And today he urged the borough’s public to attend the meetings to put their views across. He said: “It’s another incidence of South Tyneside potentially losing a health service.
“Obviously, it’s important that the public is fully consulted over this, and I’d urge anyone who has an interest or an experience of specialist mental health services in the borough to attend the public meetings and put their views across.
“I’d also hope that those views are fully taken account of when any decisions are made.”
The consultation will include three public meetings.
They will take place at the Living Waters Church in St Jude’s Terrace, South Shields, on Wednesday, January 15, from 1.30pm to 3pm; the Customs House in South Shields on Wednesday, January 22, from 6pm to 7.30pm; and Bede’s World in Jarrow on Wednesday, January 29, from 1.30pm to 3pm.
Details of the consultation process can be found online at www.southtynesideccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/my-life