Patients across South Tyneside have been showing support for the borough's hospital as work continues to transform healthcare in the area.
The Path to Excellence is a five-year plan to transform health services across Sunderland and South Tyneside, and work is currently underway on Phase Two of the programme.
This area looks at acute medicine and emergency care, emergency surgery and planned care including surgery and outpatient care.
As engagement about the future of such services continues, Gazette readers have leapt to the defence of services in South Tyneside following a meeting in Hebburn.
Speaking at the town's Community Area Forum meeting, Councillor John McCabe, for Hebburn South, expressed concerns about how patients will access services once the transformation is complete due to the lack of transport links.
He added: "The problem we’ve got in Hebburn is you need two buses and a Metro to get to Sunderland.
“That is not good enough and it needs to be looked at it. People will take the shorter journey to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead or the RVI in Newcastle.”
On social media, dozens of Gazette readers got in touch to share their experiences of using South Tyneside Hospital's services, with the majority saying they would prefer to support their local hospital rather than go elsewhere.
Here is what you had to say on the Shields Gazette Facebook page:
Rob Lawson: "It’s funny how South Tyneside was perfectly capable of handling its own hospital for well over 70 years, then suddenly they tell us it’s not big enough."
Fiona Wilson: "Why should I have to travel so far when there's a perfectly good hospital on my doorstep?"
Lisa McElvogue: "I get the best service ever for my daughter in South Tyneside Hospital - why would you think anyone would want to go elsewhere!"
Andrew McIntosh: "Why should I choose to go anywhere else when we have a perfectly good hospital here?"
Andrew Âû Wright: "I opt for my LOCAL hospital. The one where I was BORN."
Margaret Jobes: "South Tyneside! Improve our hospital, don’t send hundreds of patients to already overcrowded hospitals elsewhere."
Steven Johnston: "Why should we have to choose? All the other hospitals are overcrowded already. Nowt wrong with South Tyneside hospital, every district needs its own hospital."
Susan Goldsbrough: "We need our essential services to be maintained in OUR NHS, in OUR borough."
Kerry Douglass: "There’s nothing wrong with South Shields. It’s understated and underused."
Margaret Browne: "We should never have to choose. Keep our South Tyneside Hospital."
Margaret Steel: "I'd rather go to South Tyneside, support our local hospital."
Agnes George: "I'd prefer to go to Shields! Getting to any of the others takes so much more time and costs more."