Ruling Labour councillors in South Tyneside have been challenged to get behind a campaign battling to save services at South Tyneside Hospital and fight against NHS cuts.
The call was made by South Tyneside Green Party - which has given its backing to the fight against proposed changes at South Tyneside District Hospital which they say will reduce the number of treatments and procedures available to people in the town.
The campaign was launched in response to an alliance between Sunderland and South Tyneside Hospitals.
South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Partnership have launched a Path to Excellence consultation which contains a range of proposals affecting maternity services, special care baby units, gynaecology, and inpatient surgery.
The consultation process is underway.
South Tyneside Green Party is calling on the council to follow other local authorities nationally and challenge cuts to the NHS.
We remain resolute vital services at the hospital should be protected.Labour Group Spokesman
David Francis from the Green Party said: “As many local people are aware, our access to health services at South Tyneside Hospital is under threat.
“The proposed alliance between Sunderland and South Tyneside threatens to downgrade our local hospital, making it much harder for us all to access our NHS services.
“Although the campaign in South Tyneside has the support of the local MPs and some of the local councillors, so far, our council has failed to unite and show the courage to challenge these proposals.
“Other councils have done this, and they are winning the fight for their residents.
“Last week, Cherwell District Council in Oxfordshire, along with their neighbouring authorities, challenged their local CCG in the courts.
“They have been successful in requesting a full hearing into the public consultation over plans to downgrade services at Horton General.
“If local councils up and down the country are willing to challenge these proposals, and are able to win the fight for their residents, why isn’t our Labour council willing to do the same for us?”
A Labour Group spokesman said: “The South Tyneside Labour Group will be considering our response to the consultation at our next meeting.
“Executives from the Foundation Trust have addressed the Group, as has UNISON and the Public Service Alliance.
“We remain resolute vital services at the hospital should be protected and we will submit our response to the consultation that reflects that view.”