'Irony' that South Tyneside District Hospital review will begin on anniversary of NHS formation

Roger Nettleship.
Roger Nettleship.
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The chair of a campaign group fighting to ensure key services remain at South Tyneside District Hospital has labelled the launch date of a major public consultation into how care will be delivered as “ironic.”

July 5 is the date health chiefs have set to start the 14-and-a-half-week consultation seeking the views of residents into the future of key hospital services – it is also the date 69 years

ago the NHS was founded.

The consultation will outline how they plan to deliver care at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital and will focus mainly on:

* Stroke services, specifically acute care and hospital-based rehabilitation services;

* Maternity services (obstetrics), which covers hospital-based birthing facilities and special care baby units;

* Women’s services (gynaecology), covering inpatient surgery, where patients would need an overnight hospital stay;

* Children and young people’s (paediatrics, urgent and emergency) services.

A petition calling for the hospital’s acute services to be saved has hit 17,500 signatures.

Chairman of the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign, Roger Nettleship, said: “We think that it is ironic that they plan to start the consultation, which is clearly aimed at

closing access to our acute paediatrics, maternity and stroke other acute services at our local District Hospital, on the day of the

anniversary of the founding of the NHS.

“We know from what they have said already that this consultation is driven mainly by huge cuts to both our hospital finances in South Tyneside and Sunderland and will inevitably lead to

a poorer service for people South of Tyne and Durham.

“We call on people of the area to sign our petition which stands at 17,500 and support our campaign to save our hospital acute services and fight to safeguard the future of our NHS. As

well as attending the events organised in the consultation to express their views SSTHC will be holding our own activities in both boroughs South of Tyne to save our hospital services.”

The consultation will run until Sunday October 15.

Those interested in attending the events are asked to visit www.pathtoexcellence.org.uk for registration details.

For information on the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign visit www.savesouthtynesidehospital.org.

NHS officials say they face a number of challenges around stroke, maternity, women’s services (gynaecology) and children and young people’s urgent and emergency hospital services.

MP fears consultation is a step closer to lose of vital services

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck fears the forthcoming consultation could mean South Tyneside District Hospital is a step closer to losing its vital services.

She said: “I have been campaigning against the threatened loss of acute services at our hospital for over a year now following the merger with Sunderland hospital. I sincerely hope that I

am wrong in believing this consultation means we are a step closer to permanently losing vital services in our community, including stroke, maternity and children and young people’s

urgent and emergency services.

“But the reality remains that the driving force of this consultation is the Tory Government who have mandated local areas to come up with dangerous cuts to our NHS, cuts that are

nothing short of a national scandal that will see access to life-saving services across the country closed down – which can only result in this Government having blood on their hands.”

Hospital bosses say they want to create the “best possible” improvements for health in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Dr Shaz Wahid, Medical Director for South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, said “We want to ask everyone to keep an open mind at

this time and let us explain the clinical challenges we have around these service areas.

“The proposals that we will be asking you to consider have been developed by local doctors, nurses and therapies staff based in South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal

Hospital.”