MPs to join campaigners on protest over planned changes to hospital services in South Shields

Save South Tyneside District Hospital campaigners on their march and rally, held in South Shields Town Centre, last year
Save South Tyneside District Hospital campaigners on their march and rally, held in South Shields Town Centre, last year

Politicians are getting behind a protest against the proposed changes to services at South Tyneside Hospital.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck and Jarrow and Hebburn MP Stephen Hepburn will join hundreds of protesters when they take to the streets on Saturday.

Last year's march and rally attracted hundreds of people

Last year's march and rally attracted hundreds of people

Together, they will march from the Haven Point Clock Tower along Ocean Road and King Street to the rally meeting point within the Market Place.

Both MPs will address the crowds on their thoughts to what campaigners are calling a downgrading of hospital services at South Shields.

The event has been organised by Save South Tyneside Hospital campaign, launched in response to 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.

SSTHC firmly believes that “The Path to Excellence” options are not safe, or sustainable.

Campaign spokesman

Meanwhile, a public consultation on the proposed changes is available for people to air their views until midnight on Sunday.

A spokesman for the hospital campaign said health commissioners claim this is a path to “excellence” and it will make health services “safe and sustainable”.

“SSTHC firmly believes that “The Path to Excellence” options are not safe, or sustainable.

“The downgrading of the Children’s A&E from 24/7 to 12 hours, the removal of Consultant-led maternity services, the loss of the Special Care Baby Unit and the loss of all acute hospital stroke services is a path to less safe and sustainable services for the people South Tyneside and Sunderland hospital acute service that will be unable to cope.

“What we need is continued collaboration between the two hospitals and further collaboration of the clinical teams involved in these services to provide these services at both hospitals to the benefit of both populations of South Tyneside and Sunderland.”

Last year, a similar campaign and rally attracted hundreds of people who stood side by side with representatives from political parties. Trade Unions, Unison, the GMB and Unite, and campaigners hope people will once again turnout in a show of support.

People are asked to meet at Haven Point Clock Tower 11.30am. The rally will begin at 12.30pm at the Market Place.

For more information visit http://www.savesouthtynesidehospital.org/

For details on the pathway to excellence and to give your views visit pathtoexcellence.org.uk/