Hospital campaigners are set to stage a protest march in South Shields

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Protestors campaigning against proposed changes to services at South Tyneside Hospital are taking to the streets to voice their objections.

A march and rally has been organised for Saturday, October 14, at 11.30am for residents to get behind the campaign and show their support.

If the options proposed in ‘the path to excellence’ go ahead the people of South Tyneside will have less safe and less sustainable services and they will have to to travel to even more overstretched services away from South Tyneside.

Roger Nettleship

The Save South Tyneside Hospital campaign was launched in response a new alliance between South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust (STFT) and City Hospitals Sunderland (CHS).

There are fears the hospital in South Shields will be downgraded, with Sunderland Royal dealing with more acute services, when the newly created The South of Tyne Healthcare Group is in full swing.

Those wishing to take part in the march are being asked to meet at Haven Point Clock Tower in South Shields where there will be a march to South Shields Marketplace. The rally will start at 12.30pm.

The group is now calling on those concerned about the downgrading of the consultant-led 24/7 children’s and young persons A&E, the consultant-led maternity services and loss of hospital stroke services to come and march with them.

Roger Nettleship, chairperson of the Save South Tyneside Hospital campaign said: “As the consultation at present finishes on October 15 we are calling on the people of South Tyneside and Sunderland to join us in this rally to save our wonderful consultant-led 24/7 children’s and young persons A&E, our wonderful consultant-led maternity services and save access to a first class acute stroke services.

“Let us all unite together as never before to get this message across that there is an alternative, that access to these services in South Tyneside Hospital is a right for the people of South Tyneside as it is for the people of Sunderland for their services in the Sunderland Royal.

“If the options proposed in ‘the path to excellence’ go ahead the people of South Tyneside will have less safe and less sustainable services and they will have to to travel to even more overstretched services away from South Tyneside to Sunderland and other hospitals in the region.”

Last year, a campaign and rally attracted hundreds of people who stood side by side with representatives from political parties.

Trade Unions, Unison, the GMB and Unite were also represented as well as groups including Harton and Westoe Miners Banner Group.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck and Jarrow and Hebburn MP Stephen Hepburn also joined marchers as they made their way from Haven Point to Barrington Street.

For details of the campaign visit http://www.savesouthtynesidehospital.org/