Campaigners voice fears over future of South Tyneside hospital

Save South Tyneside District Hospital campaigners on their march and rally, held in South Shields Town Centre, last year.
Save South Tyneside District Hospital campaigners on their march and rally, held in South Shields Town Centre, last year.
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A campaign group has voiced their concerns as a consultation on the future of hospital services in South Tyneside draws to a close.

People have until midnight tomorrow to air their opinions on proposals put forward by hospital bosses as they look to find new ways to deliver care to patients at South Tyneside District Hospital.

Closing such successful units as Children’s 24/7 A&E, the consultant led maternity services and downgrading them will not save any significant sums of money.

Campaigners’ response

For more than a year, protesters have campaigned against the plans they fear would see the hospital, in Harton Lane, in South Shields being downgraded - with Sunderland Royal dealing with more acute services when the newly created South of Tyne Healthcare Group is in full swing.

Now, as the deadline looms for the end of the public consultation, protestors were due to take to the streets today in a protest march against the proposals.

They have also given their response to phase one of the ‘Path to Excellence’ consultation.

They have criticised the way the process has been carried out – labelling it as “flawed” and say it should be halted.

They also claim the proposals will make the NHS in South Tyneside and Sunderland “less safe” and “less sustainable.”

In the report compiled in response to the proposals, they said: “While there is a need for continued collaboration between the two hospitals and further collaboration of the clinical teams involved in these services, the direction ‘The Path to Excellence’ is proposing to concentrate this acute care in one hospital will make the NHS in South Tyneside and Sunderland less safe and less sustainable.

“Closing such successful units like children’s 24/7 A&E, the consultant led maternity services or downgrading them will not save any significant sums of money.”

The campaigners go on to call for investment to be made in safe and sustainable services at both hospitals in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

The Save South Tyneside Hospital campaign was set up in response to the new alliance announced between South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospital Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck and Jarrow and Hebburn MP Stephen Hepburn, along with representatives from unions were expected to take part in the march and rally taking place today.

On Thursday, South Tyneside Council’s cabinet called on decision makers to re-think the proposals in its response to the consultation in particular in the area of maternity.

For information and details on upcoming meetings and events on the Save South Tyneside Hospital campaign visit www.savesouthtynesidehospital.org/