Readers have been having their say about the future of their hospital trust as South Tyneside and Sunderland launch joint plans to merge.
Yesterday marked the start of nine weeks of consultation with staff, patients and members of the public invited to comment on the proposed merger of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.
Benefits of the 'Stronger Together' plan, which would see both trusts come together as one organisation, include expanding and developing services, attracting and retain more highly-skilled staff and making initial savings of £8million by 2023.
As part of the consultation, four events are being held over the summer holidays across both hospitals. Registration is required for these events, and can be completed on the Sunderland and South Tyneside websites.
They are taking place as follows:
*Wednesday, August 15, 6pm – 8pm, Sunderland Royal Hospital
*Friday, August 17, 2pm – 4pm, South Tyneside District Hospital
*Monday, September 3, 6pm – 8pm, South Tyneside District Hospital
*Friday, September 7 10.30pm – 12.30pm, Sunderland Royal Hospital
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Here's how you reacted to the story on social media:
Fliss Sullivan: "It would be a travesty to close the hospital at South Shields. It is a great place so I really hope this doesn’t happen."
Kenneth Wood: "Unless people of South Tyneside stand up [...] in a few years time South Tyneside Hospital grounds will be a massive housing estate."
Donna Proudlock: "Spent two weeks in STDH last year and had two ops on my leg. I had fantastic care and treatment.
"STDH have amazing surgeons/consultants, doctors, nurses, auxilliaries, domestics and porters. Why destroy something that isn't broken."
Andrew McIntosh: "How can they say 'We're stronger together?' It will mean shared services and resources, meaning much more travel both ways for the same service so no we will not be stronger together."
Wendy Hall Smith: "It must not happen. South Tyneside Hospital is a gem that has provided me with amazing care over the years with my chronic illness."
David Goldsmith: "It’s a shame as South Shields hospital is one of the best in the county. The staff are amazing and genuinely take great pride in what they do."
Pam Johnson: "Save our hospital."
Claire Riley: "This is good news and the right thing to do - still means the same hospitals then so no worries of closed hospitals."
Rebecca Bailey: "The staff at this hospital are outstanding unfortunately they haven't been thought of in all of this and neither have the people of South Tyneside."
Rob Paris: "Well, can only be good share expertise as well."
Sandi Bastholm: "No, why fix what's not broken?"