Readers have been quick to have their say after it was revealed a council leader who is being challenged to back a campaign to save hospital services earns up to £15,000 as a director of the Trust at the centre of the dispute.
Coun Iain Malcolm has been called upon to publicly state his position over a protest – launched by the Save South Tyneside Hospital campaign group – to stop the downgrading of acute and emergency services at South Tyneside District Hospital.
As a non-executive director of the same South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, Coun Malcolm earns between £10,000 and £15,000 a year from the position.
The campaign was launched following an alliance being between the borough’s Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.
Coun Malcolm says he fully supports the work of the NHS.
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said on his behalf: “Any campaign that highlights the underfunding of our NHS has the Leader’s support.”
Many Gazette readers were quick to offer Coun Malcolm advice.
Walkerchris sent: “Mr Malcolm could acknowledge the tight financial ‘envelope’ that our hospitals are having to work within by carrying out his duties at the trust for free.
“Between £10,000 and £15,000 would pay for a part-time member of nursing staff at the hospital.”
Heather Ditchburn Curry said: “Some people don’t earn £15k a year and actually ‘work’ for their money.”
Peter Watt revealed: “Don’t think I’ve ever made £15k a year on any job I’ve done and this is his side line.”
Jean Costello added: “I’ve worked and had to have tax credits to top up my minimum wage and don’t get that.”
JD Mac 2 stated: “Problem is that financially comfortable middle and professional class employees and members of these various organisations have no conception of how relatively expensive and difficult it is for low income people to travel further and further to hospital facilities in order to visit and support family members and friends.”