Letter of the week: Council needs to do more to fight threat to South Tyneside Hospital

As many local people are aware, our access to health services at South Tyneside Hospital is under threat.

Tuesday, 19th September 2017, 5:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th September 2017, 6:00 pm
Our writer thinks South Tyneside Council should do more to fight the threats facing our hospital.

The proposed alliance between Sunderland and South Tyneside threatens to downgrade our local hospital, making it much harder for us all to access our NHS services.

Although the campaign in South Tyneside has the support of the local MPs and some of the local councillors, so far our council has failed to unite and show the courage to challenge these proposals.

Other councils have done exactly this, and they are winning the fight for their residents.

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The current consultation process in South Tyneside is deeply flawed.

We know that clinicians have not been adequately consulted. Hospital staff weren’t aware of the nature of the proposals until the public launch date. The public events have been carefully stage-managed and completely unsatisfactory – deliberately avoiding any opportunity for the public to ask awkward questions.

Just in case calling the proposals The Path to Excellence didn’t show enough bias, none of the options put forward in it allow us to keep access to services at both sites, or have them just at South Shields.

This week Cherwell District Council, along with their neighbouring councils, challenged their local CCG in the courts.

They have been successful in requesting a full hearing into the public consultation over plans to downgrade services at Horton General.

They argued that the consultation was inadequate, fundamentally flawed and confusing for local people who wanted to have their say… sound familiar?

If local councils up and down the country are willing to challenge these proposals, and are able to win the fight for their residents, why isn’t our Labour council willing to do the same for us?

David Francis,

South Tyneside Green Party.