Friday 16th February 2018
Protest Vigil Outside South Tyneside District Hospital
Protesters link hands and arms in defence of local hospital services
On Friday February 16 2018, 200 people took part in SSTHC a lunchtime protest vigil outside South Tyneside Hospital ahead of the announcement by the South Tyneside and Sunderland CCG on the future of Consultant-led Children's 24/7 A&E, Consultant-led Maternity, inpatient gynaecology and hospital stroke services. Attending the protest were staff and their trade unions at the hospital, and people from South Tyneside, including councillors and both MPs as well as people from Sunderland and Newcastle and Gateshead. Many of the political organisations in the borough were also present in the spirit of uniting regardless of political affiliation and views to save our hospital services.
Speaking after the protest Roger Nettleship Chair of SSTHC said:
“Can we thank all for the wonderful support we had that shows that we are all continuing to fight against the downgrading of these services. We know that there were hundreds who were not able to get there and that it was at a difficult time and yet we still got 200 and we managed our hands around the front of the hospital grounds which looked spectacular! Such events are the conscience of the people of South Tyneside when we know we are right to go all out to defend our right to health care in the borough and throughout the NHS!”
At the protest it was announced that there would be a further lobby of the CCG special meeting to announce the result of the consultation. The campaign was fighting on to challenge these decisions to downgrade services which will make these services less accessible, less safe, and make our hospital less sustainable to provide vital health services to the people of South Tyneside. At the same time, services in Sunderland will become further overstretched and unable to cope.
Sunday 18th February 2018
Letter from SSTHC solicitors to the CCGs stating that any decision they make on Wednesday 21st February 2018 on the basis of this consultation will be unlawful.
In a letter dated February 16th Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign Solicitors, Irwin Mitchell, have notified both Hospital Trusts and South Tyneside and Sunderland CCGs as well as South Tyneside Council of our “concerns ahead of a decision due to be made by NHS South Tyneside CCG and NHS Sunderland CCG on 21st February 2018. We believe that any decision that maybe taken by the two CCGs on the present state of affairs will be unlawful for the reasons set out below. We therefore ask that you address these concerns before any decision is made.”
The letter sets out the concerns under the following headings:
- Unlawful consultation
- Flawed transport analysis
- Pre-determination and bias
- Discrimination and public sector equality duty
The letter details all of these concerns and in conclusion says:
“In summary, there has not been a fair consultation. We urge you to not make a decision on the future of these important services without proper consultation. Any decision taken on the basis of this consultation will be unlawful. In the interests of fairness, we require you to consult on the option if services being centralised at South Tyneside Hospital before a lawful decision is made.”
“At the time of writing, it has been announced that an extraordinary meeting of NHS South Tyneside CCG and NHS Sunderland CCG will take place on Wednesday 21 February from 2pm to 4pm. Papers for the meeting are not currently available but the website states that 'Papers for the extraordinary meeting in common of the two governing bodies will be available later this week on the CCG websites and the path to excellence website'.”
“We expect all decision making documents to be made publicly available in good time before the meeting on 21 February 2018. We reserve the right to make further representations after the decision-making documents are made available.”
“Should the CCGs proceed to make a decision on the basis of the present state of affairs, we reserve the right to challenge the decision on the grounds set out above and others. We expect any final decision to be communicated promptly to the public as well as the detailed reasons for reaching any such decisions.”