Supporters fighting to keep hospital services in South Tyneside have gathered together to devise a battle plan.
Hundreds of people attended a meeting at Brinkburn Community Centre in South Shields on Friday night as part of the Save South Tyneside Hospital campaign.
NHS bosses launched a public consultation earlier this month into shake-up of services at the hospital in Harton Lane, which could see a number of treatment services move to Sunderland.
Services affected by the so-called Path to Excellence proposals include maternity services, special care baby units, gynaecology, and inpatient surgery.
Perhaps the most controversial option would see stroke services relocate to Sunderland.
The meeting saw members of the campaign group joined on stage by union representatives, as well as South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck and Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn address the crowd.
Many of the staff have contacted me and presented me with evidence that they have been actively left our of the consultation to form these proposals altogetherEmma Lewell-Buck, MP for South Shields
Ms Lewell-Buck said the Government is determined cut down the NHS “once and for all”.
She said: “The plan seems to be to close down South Tyneside Hospital and move everything to Sunderland.
“This is only Phase One, there are two more to go. One of them is the A and E.
“The Clinical Commissioning Group say they are supported by the clinicians and staff of our hospital.
“Many of the staff have contacted me and presented me with evidence that they have been actively left out of the consultation to form these proposals altogether.”
Ms Lewell-Buck said the only way the plans could be stopped would be if scrutiny committees of South Tyneside and Sunderland councils referred the matter to the Secretary of State.
Visit www.savesouthtynesidehospital.org for more information.
People can take part in the survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NHSPathtoExcellence