The gradual breakup and privatisation of our health services has been partially hidden by the complexity of that process. This knowledge-base attempts to bring together the significant elements of that process both locally and nationally.
The knowledge-base should be considered a work in progress because the scope is so vast that it can't ever be fully comprehensive, and events are still changing fast so it won't be fully up-to-date. The facts brought together here are from third-party sources; it is likely that some of those facts are not precisely correct, but a few potential errors won't change the overall picture. Despite its limitations, it is hoped that the information gathered here will help you see (fairly easily) the context that the government, our local health leaders and very often the mainstream media do not talk about.
The so-called Path to Excellence (the downgrading and closure of hospital services in South Tyneside) is the result of schemes and legislation designed to open the NHS to private corporations. Because this processes spans several decades, information has been broken down into a time-line and glossary presentation. You can use the time-line to get an overview; click on the embedded links to learn more; links to sources are provided. For more detailed information you might try the other campaigns or books listed on our website.
Time-lineNHS Time-line : National and Local NHS Time-line : National Only NHS Time-line : Local Only
GlossaryGlossary : All Terms A-Z Glossary : Grouped by Category
- Response of the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign to the releasing of the CQC report on South Tyneside and Sunderland NHSFT dated 03/02/2023“Unfortunately for us and the people of South Tyneside and Sunderland it is this theme that runs through the entire CQC report. It has seen not only the hospital services in South Tyneside become less safe and less sustainable but it is the consequences of downgrading services at South Tyneside that has led to less safe and less sustainable services at Sunderland Royal Hospital.”
- Response to Inquest Following Death at South Tyneside Birthing Unit
All who are active in the SSTHC would like to say we are so sad to hear the news from the inquest into the death of baby Charlotte Warkcup and our heartfelt condolences go out to her mother, father, grandparents and all the family.
We feel very strongly that this tragic case was fully avoidable. We know the staff are dedicated and hard working, but we also know that this stand alone birthing unit was also set up to fail with lack of immediate consultant obstetric cover.See the following Shields Gazette articles for more information:
- Family tell of heartbreak after baby girl dies following failings at South Tyneside's birthing centre
- Coroner questions safety of midwife-led birthing centres after death of baby girl following failings at South Tyneside District Hospital
- Healthcare safety investigators make recommendations after death of baby girl
- Health campaigners call for full maternity services to be restored to South Tyneside District Hospital after death of baby girl
- Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign petition "No to the Downgrading of South Tyneside Hospital" is being presented to Parliament“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 and privatisation of our hospital services.”
- Statement of the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign on the Nurses Pay Upsurge“Nurses and other health workers are speaking in their own name and taking up the fight, both to improve their own pay, and at the same time to take part in the struggle to safeguard the future of the NHS and care services.”
- To Matt Hancock (Secretary of State for Health) from Emma Lewell-Buck (MP for South Shields)South Tyneside District Hospital serves over 150,000 residents. We have lost our Stoke Services, our consultant-led Maternity Unit, our Special Care Baby Unit and our Children's A&E (Night-time) Services so far via the 'Path to Excellence'. There are further plans to downgrade our remaining critical services, which again I am strongly opposing.
...As part of your investigation, I wonder if you could please gain clarity for me on the following vital questions...
- To CEOs (David Hambleton and Ken Bremner) of South Tyneside CCG and South Tyneside and Sunderland Foundation Trust regarding concerns now being raised following phase-1 of the "Path to Excellence"“We are hearing many concerns from patients, staff and residents of both South Tyneside and Sunderland on the impact of these changes, and where data exists the performance of both hospitals has dropped dramatically on important waiting targets. Questions are being raised on the impact on patients, staff and ambulances at South Tyneside and Sunderland that we need answers to.”
- South Tyneside Hospital: Court Of Appeal Reserves Judgement“We feel that strong legal arguments have been made as to why the decision made at the judicial review in December 2018 was incorrect. We now await the judgement.”
- Campaigners Call For Rethink Of South Tyneside Hospital Service Closures Ahead Of Crucial Hearing“...The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign Group was established after NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS South Tyneside CCG took the decision to transfer maternity, women's healthcare, paediatric and stroke services away from the hospital. ...The campaigners instructed Irwin Mitchell's specialist Public Law and Human Rights team to help them challenge the decision. While an initial judicial review was not successful the Court of Appeal granted permission for that decision to be reviewed. A Court of Appeal hearing is due to place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on November 19.”
- Correspondence and documents related to phase-2 of the "Path to Excellence" and its funding.
- Gateshead and Newcastle Maternity Services / Regional Planning for Maternity Services“SSTHC submitted identical Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust. The purpose of the FOI requests was to learn something of the extent of integrated planning between hospital Trusts in our region, and to learn the consequences for other maternity services in our region if maternity services at South Tyneside Hospital are downgraded or closed. The replies we received are very similar. Gateshead and Newcastle Trusts say that they were notified of the proposed changes in South Tyneside, but say it is not their responsibility to help shape services in South Tyneside, and neither is it their responsibility to ensure that there are enough maternity staff in our region.”
- Campaign To Save Local Tyneside NHS Hospital Services In North East Heads To High Court“A judicial review hearing will take place this week as a local campaign group takes its legal challenge against NHS Sunderland CCG and NHS South Tyneside CCG to the High Court as they seek to save South Tyneside Hospital.”
- SSTHC Request Evidence of “Unanimously Backed Plans” for the merger of South Tyneside Health Care Trust with City Hospitals Sunderland.“...it was pointed out at the meeting of SSTHC that a survey conducted by Unison in the Hospital registered overwhelming opposition to the merger and far from “broad understanding” staff were really concerned about the impact on the services they provide in South Tyneside.”
- Response to Announced Merger Between STFT and CHS
- - The Trusts are avoiding their responsibility to properly consult
- - The timing of the merger is not a coincidence. It will facilitate the 'Path to Excellence'
- - This is a precursor for staff transfers into the Sunderland-based arms-length private company 'Choices'.
- - This is not a merger but a takeover.
- - The misleading concept behind this takeover is that of the Trusts being 'stronger together'.
- Green Light For Judicial Review In Fight To Save Local Tyneside NHS Hospital Services in North East“Lawyers acting for a local campaign group have been given the green light to pursue their legal challenge against NHS Sunderland CCG and NHS South Tyneside CCG as they continue the fight to save South Tyneside Hospital.”Supporting Documents
- The Shields Gazette - Judicial Review Launched Over Transfer of Vital Hospital Services (PDF)
- The Sunderland Echo - Go Ahead for Legal Hearing Over Hospital Services Plan (PDF)
- The Chronicle Newcastle - Hospital Cuts to be at the Centre of Court Clash (PDF)
- The Journal - Boost to Legal Challenge to Hospital Cuts (PDF)
- Lawyers Issue High Court Judicial Review Application In Battle To Save Local Hospital Services“Following our instruction by the South Tyneside Hospital Campaign Group, we believe there are grounds for a judicial review of the decision taken by NHS managers at South Tyneside CCG and NHS Sunderland CCG on 21 February, and have issued proceeding at court.”
- Taking Our Fight to Westminster“The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign is taking a coach of supporters from South Tyneside and Sunderland to Parliament on Wednesday. We now have 40 booked on the coach, which is being supported by Unison South Tyneside health Branch. We will meet with our MPs and we hope also to meet with Jeremy Corbyn leader of the opposition. Also we will attend Prime Ministers Questions where Emma Lewell-Buck MP for South Shields has been drawn to ask a question on the hospital of the Prime Minister.”
- Crowd Justice Fund Target Reached“The Crowd Justice fund of Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign reaches its target of £5000. On Monday January 29th the SSTHC Crowd Justice Fund reached its target of £5000. The crowd fund was launched on December 8th 2017. SSTHC Congratulates all who contributed to we have reached our target of £5000.”
- Response to Proposed Merger of South Tyneside Foundation Trust with City Hospitals Sunderland“At its bi-weekly meeting on Monday January 22nd 2018 the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign discussed the proposed merger between South Tyneside Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland.”
- Response to the Draft Feedback Analysis Report of the Public Consultation Process of the “Path to Excellence”“The first point is that all of the options are based on services being centred on Sunderland, the consultation being only on the extent of that centralisation that people prefer. This point of criticism is also made in the report. The second point is that the qualitative analysis, when people had time to think, highlights that most people did not want any of the options proposed and wanted current services. The report thus seems designed to confuse and segregate opinion.”
- Response to Phase-1 of Consultation Feedback Analysis Report“The Chair of SSTHC said today we have submitted our response to the Phase 1 Consultation Feedback Analysis Report that is due by January 8th.”
- Announcing Letter to Chief Executive of South Tyneside Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland“...Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign has sent a letter of complaint to the Chief Executive of the South Tyneside Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland. Contrary to what the article (October 20) reports the "Hospital bosses" as saying we have checked and the data related to South Tyneside Hospital's top 5 UK performance of the Accident and Emergency Service does include the good performance of the Children's' and Young person's A&E and reflects its good results.”
- Briefing of the Save South Tyneside Campaign on the Public Consultation 5th July to 15th October 2017“The consultation on Phase 1 which started on July 5 2017 and lasts until October 15 2017 contains a number of options, all of which downgrade Acute Services at South Tyneside District Hospital (STDH). There are two options for Children and Young People's Emergency Services at the A&E which either downgrade this from a 24/7 service to a 12 hour service or to a 12 hour Nurse-led "Minor Injury or Illness" Service. For Maternity, there are two options, both of which end the Consultant-led Maternity Services at South Tyneside Hospital and close the Special Care Baby Unit. Also, it is proposed to end the Inpatient Gynaecology Service. There are 3 options for Acute Stroke Services but their stated favourite is already implemented. This removes all hospital-based Strokes Services from South Tyneside Hospital including hospital rehabilitation.”
- Now is the time to defend our hospitals and our NHS“...Briefing On Northumbria, Tyne & Wear and north Durham Sustainability and Transformation Plan. ...The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign and the Building of an Unstoppable Movement.”
- South Tyneside Hospital Campaign“The South Tyneside and Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have told us they are preparing to start consultation most likely in late May on the first phase of the consultation on the Clinical Reviews at South Tyneside Hospital.”
- SSTHC Calls on Everyone to Get Involved to Oppose the "draft" STP“Everyone in South Tyneside and Sunderland should be very concerned about these latest top down plans of the government to wreck our NHS as a viable health service fully available to all. The government clearly want to complete its privatisation and introduce charging and that is why they are making such massive cuts to our acute services. Being able to access our acute and emergency services at our local hospitals is a right not a privilege. It is vital to the health and well-being of our populations and especially such vulnerable communities that we have in South Tyneside and Sunderland. Everyone must get involved to block these STPs.”
- Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign Briefing on Northumbria, Tyne & Wear and north Durham Sustainability and Transformation Plan“The Northumbria, Tyne & Wear and north Durham Sustainability and Transformation Plan (NTWND STP) was finally released on November 9th as a "draft", with "local engagement" of 8 weeks from November 23, before the final plan will be released for "consultation" with the public sometime early in the New Year.
This is a crucial time where, especially elected members may be expected to sign off a draft plan which will shape the whole future of health and services in South Tyneside and Sunderland before the first phase of the "clinical reviews" are put forward for consultation next year.”
- SSTHC Calls on Everyone to Get Involved to Block These STPs“Far from being Sustainability & Transformation Plans, it is these plans that will create an unsustainable health service with people travelling further and further for even more diminishing NHS services. No one should sign up to these plans which are intent on wrecking our health service.”
- To Steve Williamson - Deputy Chief Executive“The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign is writing an open letter to you and other health and local authority leaders to call on you to release the Sustainability & Transformation Plans (STPs) that have so far been withheld from the public. We are greatly concerned about the impact on the provision of acute services and the Accident & Emergency services across South Tyneside and Sunderland as well as the whole NHS in our region.”
- Call to Publish “Sustainability & Transformation Plan” for our Area“Today the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign has written to South Tyneside and Sunderland leaders of the Hospital Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Health and Well-Being Boards and Council leaders to call on them to release the Sustainability & Transformation Plans (STPs) that have so far been withheld from the public and that will impact on the provision of acute services, Accident & Emergency services across South Tyneside and Sunderland as well as the whole NHS in our region. NHS England is telling CCGs not to publish the STPs till NHS England has commented on them, and yet other authorities have published them in order to allow public and patient involvement.”
- STPs and why councils and councillors should not be supporting them. - A resource pack for councillors and campaigners.
- Councillors must look before they leap into secret NHS cuts plans - by John Lister on Our NHS website, October 25
- STPs: new way to make cuts - articles from centre pages of Health Campaigns Together newspaper No.3
- Agreed statement from Challenging the STPs conference, Birmingham, September 17
- Draft motion to political parties, plus background explanation - by Carol Ackroyd, Keep our NHS public
- Template letter to councillors - campaigners in North Central London
- Open Letter to Leader of Camden Council - Camden KONP and campaigners
- STP campaign flyer, promoting petition - Unite the Union
- Presentation slides on STP - Unite the Union
- Teach yourself ESTPeranto - the bizarre language of STPs explained
- How to get details of your local STP - KONP
- Template for analysing STP plans - KONP
- Briefing on the Presentation of the Annual Report (2015-2016) at the Annual General Meeting of STFT“South Tyneside Foundation NHS Trust (STFT) is holding a presentation of its Annual Report "highlight of the year 2015-2016" and financial statements on Friday September 9th 2016 at an Annual General meeting at the education centre in the hospital. The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign is submitting its own briefing on STFS's annual report. The report points out that "emergency demand has increased at a time when resources have been under huge pressure" and it also [is] "recognising the outstanding level of care provided by our staff", which was highlighted in particular by the recent Care Quality Commission inspection. At the same time, whilst recognising the achievements of the clinical and non-clinical staff at the hospital and whilst recognising the important collaboration with community services and other hospitals - including City Hospital Sunderland (CHS) - the main thrust of the annual report is to take the hospital in a direction that, without any consultation with the people of South Tyneside and Sunderland, creates a so-called "alliance". This has been formed under one executive team led by the Chief Executive of CHS (which was also a hospital declared in deficit and financial difficulties in 2015). The whole direction of the report is that STFT is to be taken over by CHS and the people of South Tyneside will lose access to acute stroke, maternity, emergency surgery services in South Tyneside...”
- Miscellaneous Documents
Leaflets and posters to download, print and distribute:CurrentExpired
This section brings together some photographs from our campaign work:
- 9th June 2021
Our petition "No to the Downgrading of South Tyneside Hospital" has been presented to Parliament
- 8th August 2020
SSTHC joins hundreds of nurses and doctors as they take to the streets of Newcastle in protest of pay inequalities and continuing NHS cuts.
- 5th August 2019
Protest on the day that South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Trust closed the Special Care Baby Unit, full maternity and 24/7 children's A&E at South Tyneside Hospital
- 13th July 2019
135th Durham Miners' Gala
- 6th July 2019
Raising awareness of "Path to Excellence" phase-2 and the attempt by local health leaders to embroil South Tyneside and Sunderland councils in financing it.
- 1st August 2018
LAfFalAnG Comedy Fundraiser
- 14th July 2018
134th Durham Miners' Gala
- 5th July 2018
NHS 70th Anniversary Dinner
- 30th June 2018
National March and Rally for #OurNHS70
- 23rd May 2018
Taking Our Fight to Westminster
- 10th March 2018
North East March and Rally for the NHS - 2018
- 16th February 2018
Hands Together for Our Hospital Services
- 8th December 2017
Protests Against Sudden SCBU and Maternity Closure
- 14th October 2017
South Tyneside March and Rally 2017
- 7th October 2017
Mini-March to Save Children's A&E
- 15th September 2017
Public Meeting at Hedworthfield Community Centre
- 21st July 2017
Public Meeting at Brinkburn Community Centre
- 16th July 2017
Thompson Park Fair, Sunderland
- 8th July 2017
133rd Durham Miners' Gala
- 5th July 2017
At the 'Path To Excellence' Consultation Launch Event
- 1st July 2017
South Tyneside Summer Parade
- 12th May 2017
Waiting for Teresa May at the South Shields Ferry Landing
- 1st May 2017
South Tyneside May Day Rally and Celebration - 2017
- 4th March 2017
National March and Rally for #ourNHS
- 4th February 2017
North East March and Rally for the NHS 2017
- 3rd November 2016
Call To Publish STP
- 29th October 2016
Final Rally of the 'Footprints' March organised by '999 Call for the NHS'
- 22nd October 2016
First March and Rally to Defend Our Hospital and NHS
- 1st October 2016
Prominent Signatories and Famous Supporters of our Campaign
- 1st October 2016
Jarrow March 80th Anniversary
- 15th August 2016
The First Public Meeting Organised By SSTHC
- 9th June 2021
Please download and print these blank petition forms to gather signatures from your friends, family and colleagues etc. Please also share our online petitions.
No to Downgrading of South Tyneside Hospital (PDF)
No to Closure of Urgent Care Centres at Bunny Hill, Houghton and Washington (PDF)