Hospital campaigners in South Tyneside set to hold lunchtime protest

Save South Tyneside District Hospital campaigners on a march and rally, held in South Shields Town Centre.  Speakers included South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck and Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn.
Save South Tyneside District Hospital campaigners on a march and rally, held in South Shields Town Centre. Speakers included South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck and Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn.

Campaigners hoping to keep hospital services in South Tyneside are planning to stage another protest event.

The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign (SSTHC) movement says it will hold a lunchtime vigil later this month.

South Tyneside District Hospital

South Tyneside District Hospital

The group is calling for services such as maternity and stroke treatment to stay at South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields.

Late last year the maternity ward at the hospital was temporarily closed, although it has now re-opened.

A consultation was launched last year over the possibility of services such as maternity, stroke and children’s A&E being offered from Sunderland Royal Hospital.

A crowd funding target of £5,000 has also been reached so that a judicial review can be launched by the group.

Roger Nettleship, chairman of SSTHC, said: “We have had two pieces of good news in what are difficult times for our NHS.

“The New Year started with a victory for the staff of the maternity and Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) when the full maternity service re-opened at South Tyneside District Hospital after a temporary closure at the end of 2017.

“Secondly, the crowd funding campaign that we launched on December 8 reached it target of £5,000.

“This will enable us to get the advice we need on launching a legal case to defend our hospital.

“SSTHC is also calling for a lunchtime protest outside the South Tyneside District Hospital to say we care about these services.

“Health care is a right, it is our hospital and our NHS and we care.”

The group says it is also expressing concerns about the possibility of a merger between South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and its City Hospitals Sunderland counterpart.

In April 2016 the two trusts formed an alliance and in August 2016 both came under one executive team.

If the merger goes ahead the Sunderland-based executive team will become one executive and non-executive team and one board of governors.

The protest vigil is due to take place at the hospital from noon until 1pm on Friday, February 16.