An MP has called on health chiefs to take public opinion on board when they meet to decide on future services at South Tyneside’s main hospital.
Representatives from NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Sunderland CCG will meet next week to decide on how services will be provided at South Tyneside Hospital in future - following a public consultation.
The Path to Excellence consultation could mean changes to the way stroke care, maternity and women’s health care and children and young peoples services are delivered at the hospital.
Campaigners fear the move will lead to a downgrading of services.
Hospital bosses say the plans - which have been the subject of a three-month consultation – involved expert staff and are aimed at providing improved services.
South Shields Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck has urged health chiefs to “listen to public opinion” ahead of the crunch meeting.
She said: “I have never been very hopeful, and been very vocal, about what is going on with the hospital.
“I am anxious they are going to make the wrong decision which is not going to benefit the people of South Tyneside.”
She added: “These consultation proposals have been slammed, not just by the public, but by clinicians. They are not safe or sustainable for the people of South Tyneside.
“I hope they will take note of what people have said and make a decision based on that.
She added: “I think it is a shame that the meeting is being held in Hebburn, bearing in mind the hospital is in South Shields.
“It would have been more appropriate to have it there. It would have made it more accessible for people.”
The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign (SSTHC) are to hold a protest outside the Harton Lane entrance to the hospital tomorrow from noon to 1pm.
It is also also calling on supporters to take part in a protest lobby at the decision-making meeting which takes place at, at Hebburn Central on Wednesday.
Roger Nettleship, chairman of SSTHC said: “Nothing the CCG decides will take away the right of the people of South Tyneside to the hospital services that they wish to downgrade.
“It seems that we no longer have people in authority standing up for the rights for the people of South Tyneside to healthcare.
“People have to take control of society and build a movement to safeguard the future of the NHS.”
The meeting takes place from 2pm to 4pm on Wednesday.