Green Party deputy leader calls for hospital services to be kept in South Tyneside
The Green Party's deputy leader has been on South Tyneside to call for hospital services to be kept in the area.
Amelia Womack visited South Tyneside District Hospital along with party campaigners during a visit to the North East ahead of this spring’s local council elections.
Services at the hospital’s maternity unit were temporarily suspended at the end of November before it re-opened earlier this month.
A recent consultation over plans to change some services, which included the possibility of stroke treatment being offered at Sunderland Royal Hospital, ended recently, with many members of the public expressing concerns over the possible changes.
Speaking during her visit, Ms Womack told the Gazette: “I’m here to support our candidates’ work and it has been incredible to see how well they are doing.
“It is important that we do as much as we can to make sure that services are kept in South Tyneside.
“We need to be keeping all services such as maternity open.
“The added stress of people who are using these services having to travel further isn’t ideal, and we need to be stopping any further cuts as well as preventing any more PFI (private finance initiative) contracts.”
The Green Party is now joint-led by MP Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley.
The pro-enviromentalism party has no councillors currently elected to serve South Tyneside, with all but one councillor representing Labour at present, but Ms Womack added that she hopes that situation will change in the future.
“I’ve travelled the whole country and wherever I see Green Party councillors, I see them holding councils to account,” she said.
“It is not good to have one party only represented on a council.
“With Green Party councillors, I see them tabling motions that simply would not be tabled by other parties due to the whip system.
“The Greens I work with are always integral in their communities and when elected they make a genuine difference to the places they serve.
“We’ve got strong candidates who have a real opportunity of changing things.
“They want to make sure that their voices are being heard which quite often isn’t the case.”