Save South Tyneside Hospital campaigners take fight to Westminster

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck is to question the Prime Minister about planned changes to services at South Tyneside Hospital.

The Labour MP will ask PM Theresa May about the hospital during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQ) at Westminster tomorrow.

South Tyneside District Hospital.

South Tyneside District Hospital.

Mrs Lewell-Buck will be joined by 40 Save South Tyneside Hospital campaigners who will travel down by coach to London in the hope of meeting with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn about the issue.

The trip is being supported by Unison South Tyneside Health Branch, and will see some campaigners from South Tyneside and Sunderland watch the PMQs and meet with their local MPS before returning home.

The visit follows the decision by South Tyneside and Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Groups earlier this year to make changes in the way maternity, stroke and children’s accident and emergency services will be delivered.

Phase one of the Path to Excellence programme has been referred to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt by South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council’s joint health overview and scrutiny committee.

What is becoming very clear is that the Government agenda is already reducing safe access to vital health services for whole swathes of the population in the North East and across England

Roger Nettleship

Roger Nettleship, chairman of the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign, said the purpose of the trip is to demand that Children’s A&E, maternity and stroke services are protected.

He said: “What is becoming very clear is that the Government agenda is already reducing safe access to vital health services for whole swathes of the population in the North East and across England.
“This agenda is being further pursued in the present deconstruction of local district hospital acute services and the local GP services across England.

“We know that if the people fight to save their services they can win.”

“The council joint scrutiny committee have said with their referral to the secretary of state, the downgrading of our consultant led 24 hour Children’s A&E, the downgrading of our full maternity services ,and the loss of all hospital stroke service, are not in the best interests of the health service in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Roger Nettleship, chair of the Save South Tyneside Hospital campaign.

Roger Nettleship, chair of the Save South Tyneside Hospital campaign.

“Our aim for this trip is to further take this fight to save our hospitals services to Westminster and demand that these services are protected and guaranteed, as everyone has a right to health care and equal access to those services in their towns and cities.”

Matt Brown, Director of Operations at South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “These critical changes have been about taking steps to protect services that are exceptionally vulnerable because of a severe shortage of skilled medical and nursing staff. 

“So there is no doubt, we state again that South Tyneside Hospital has a strong and vibrant future, serving local residents.

“These changes to services are about ensuring our services are appropriately staffed by the right numbers of skilled medical and nursing staff, so that we can provide the best possible care to local people.”

For more details on Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign visit: http://www.savesouthtynesidehospital.org