Thursday 3rd June 2021

Our petition No to the Downgrading of South Tyneside Hospital is being presented to Parliament

SSTHC campaigners on Parliemnt Green in 2018

The people of South Tyneside are taking their fight to Westminster to save their vital hospital services. On June 9th a deputation of 17 people from South Tyneside & Sunderland are going to Parliament to hand in the petition signed by 44-thousand in South Tyneside and Sunderland against downgrading & privatisation of our hospital services.

Those in power are using the present crisis to further downgrade and privatise our NHS. In South Tyneside they plan to downgrade our children's A&E from a consultant-led service by August 2021. This is alongside existing plans to downgrade our A&E that was outlined in 2019 by the CCG. Children and adults will be put at further risk. The South Tyneside and Sunderland Foundation Trust has already announced prior to any consultation that from next year we will have to travel to Sunderland for all emergency surgery! Next year they also have plans to move all other acute services away from South Tyneside, including coronary care, ITU and other vital acute services. How good is a wonderful Surgery Centre if the 150-thousand + people of South Tyneside cannot access vital emergency services locally? Our A&E will be downgraded to an Urgent Care Centre and privatised. The CCG has already indicated that the contract will go to Vocare, a subsidiary of Totally PLC.

Roger Nettleship Chair of the SSTHC said:

The petition was launched in 2016 over the concerns to downgrade our hospital through what was claimed as a “path to excellence”, which has already led to the loss of full maternity services, 24 hour children's A&E and hospital stroke rehabilitation services. These closures of our vital services are going to continue in this government driven programme of cuts and privatisation of our health services. As the petition shows these closures have not been agreed by the people of South Tyneside, or Sunderland, and they are not in our name. Health care is a right in a modern society and it is the people of South Tyneside who should decide on the services that our hospital provides and they need access to vital coronary care, ITU and other acute services and a trauma A&E here in our community.

Emma Lewell-Buck MP for South Shields said:

I am pleased to be welcoming the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign to Westminster and am honoured to be able to hand in their petition signed by tens of thousands of supporters. For a number of years now I have seen the hospital where I was born slowly stripped of vital services, one after another. Like many of my constituents and the wider community, I have supported and fought alongside the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign to oppose these cuts and the further downgrading of my local hospital. The last year has shown that our NHS is needed more than ever however, in the hands of the Tories it's very future is uncertain. The Government must step in and show they are serious about protecting the NHS and listen to my constituents and stop more cuts to South Tyneside Hospital and return the services we have already lost.

Kate Osborne MP for Jarrow said:

Since 2010, our NHS services have been starved of funds by the biggest financial squeeze in NHS history by this Conservative Government. This simply cannot be allowed to continue.

In South Tyneside, the downgrading of our local hospital services is well underway following the loss of services such as stroke, consultant-led maternity, 24/7 paediatrics and our Special Care Baby Unit.

Later this year there are plans to downgrade our children's A&E from a consultant-led service alongside existing plans to downgrade our A&E, resulting in patients having to travel to Sunderland for all emergency surgery.

This simply cannot be allowed to happen, and I will always stand up and fight for our NHS's future. If we stand by and let this continue, then our hospital, along with many more across the country, will become another casualty of this Tory Government's relentless drive towards full privatisation of our NHS.

I can't speak highly enough of the work that is led by Roger Nettleship, Gemma Taylor, and all of the campaigners involved with the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign, and I look forward to welcoming their delegation to Westminster to offer my wholehearted support.

Details of the paper and online petition can be accessed here...

The Petition, No to the Downgrading of South Tyneside Hospital will be formally handed over to Emma Lewell-Buck MP on June 9th 2021 at 1pm (train delays permitting) on Parliament Green prior to its presentation in Parliament. Kate Osborne MP for Jarrow will also welcome our delegation to Westminster.


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