South Tyneside residents are being urged to get behind the Save the South Tyneside Hospital campaign when protesters come together to host a rally.
Campaigners will gather outside Haven Point in South Shields on Saturday October 22 to march to the market place.
“I think people are realising they can’t leave this until it’s too late and that thing are starting to move really fast.”Gemma Taylor
The event, organised by organised by South Tyneside Public Service Alliance, aims to highlight the strength of feeling of the people of South Tyneside over the need for A&E services to be retained in the area.
The campaign was launched after a new alliance was announced between South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospital Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.
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.
However, health chiefs have not revealed any strategic plans for the future of either hospital.
The move comes following a cut in government funding.
Already the campaign, which is supported by the South Tyneside Green Party and a number of Labour councillors, has almost 3,000 signatures on its online petition with thousands more signing their name onto petition making the rounds throughout the borough.
South Tyneside and Sunderland Public Service Alliance Co-ordinator Gemma Taylor said: “I think people are starting to really get behind the campaign now following the news the acute stroke unit has been temporarily moved to Sunderland and people are starting to become really conerned and are starting to ask questions.
“I think people are realising they can’t leave this until it’s too late and that thing are starting to move really fast. We also received a boost with the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also publicly backing the campaign.
“We have been really pleased with the response of the public to date.”
Mr Corbyn signed his name onto the petition during his recent visit to Jarrow.
Speaking at the dinner hosted by Jarrow Constituency Labour Party he said health services were better delivered “as local as they possibly can and people must “fight hard” to defend the NHS.
People backing the campaign are being asked to meet at Haven Point for 11.30am.
A march will take protesters along to the market place where a rally will begin at 12.30pm.
For more information on the campaign, the link to the online petition and future events planned by the campaign visit www.savesouthtynesidehospital.org/