Health bosses will tomorrow make their case to councillors for further changes to hospital services in South Tyneside and Sunderland.
Phase two of the Path to Excellence programme will be discussed when representatives of the NHS organisations attend the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny committee.
A draft case for phase two is expected to be formally launched this summer.
It comes as phase one of the programme – which include plans to transfer all acute stroke services to Sunderland Royal Hospital permanently, and develop a free-standing midwifery-led unit at South Tyneside Hospital, but relocate all consultant-led and special care baby unit services to Sunderland – faces a possible legal challenge.
The issue has already been refered to Health Secratary Jeremy Hunt for his decision.
The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign Group has called for a judicial review as they fight the shake-up of services at South Tyneside District Hospital.
The second phase of the programme will look at a number of services covering both emergency and planned care which are provided at the two hospitals.
Dr Shaz Wahid, medical director at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and clinical lead for the Path to Excellence programme, said: “On behalf of the NHS partners, we are really pleased to share our early thinking around the current and future challenges the NHS is facing and our aspirations on how we can meet those challenges to make our local hospitals even stronger for the future. It is really important that elected members are fully sighted on this work at the earliest possible stage and that they have the opportunity to give us their valuable feedback and views as we formulate plans.
“Tomorrow’s meeting will allow us to share the feedback we have gained so far as part of a ‘draft case for change’ for ‘phase two’ which outlines the joint ambitions of the local NHS to improve hospital services even further for the future.”