South Shields MP's delight as hospital campaigners have Court of Appeal date confirmed
An MP has spoken of her delight that health campaigners have secured an appeal court hearing against controversial changes to hospital services.
The campaign against an overhaul of stroke, maternity and paediatric care in South Shields looked doomed after a High Court judge dismissed Save South Tyneside Hospital’s objections last December.
But, as revealed by the Gazette earlier this month, the protest group has now won a Court of Appeal bid to challenge the outcome of the judicial review.
The one-day appeal – which health bosses have vowed to contest on safety grounds – is now confirmed for Tuesday, November 19, at London’s Court of Appeal.
South Shields Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck has welcomed the hearing and added: “This ruling gives us all renewed hope that the needs of the people of South Tyneside will be considered first and foremost and that the destruction of our much-needed acute and emergency services can yet be halted.
“Once again, I would like to pay tribute to each and every member of the hospital campaign that has fought tirelessly to bring us to this point and also to the amazing staff at South Tyneside Hospital who continue to provide first-class services daily.”
More than 43,000 people have signed Save South Tyneside Hospital’s petition since protests started in 2016.
Services started to move to Sunderland Royal Hospital as the group’s legal wrangle against the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) for Sunderland and South Tyneside continued.
Save South Tyneside Hospital fears the extra travelling time in reaching Sunderland will put patients at risk while creating further stress and inconvenience for their families and hopes a Court of Appeal victory will result in services returning to South Shields.
Yet Matt Brown, director at NHS South Tyneside CCG, speaking on behalf of both CCGs, said earlier this month: “These changes have always been about doing what is right for our patients and protecting vulnerable hospital services which are now in a much safer and sustainable place since we implemented all the changes at the start of August.“It’s important that people realise this this appeal is not about the decisions we made to change services, it’s about how the judge came to his conclusions during the judicial review.
“We will of course defend the appeal and, while this legal process carries on, our focus remains on providing excellent care for patients by our hardworking fantastic clinical teams.”