“DOWNGRADED & PRIVATISED”: Save South Tyneside hospital campaign heads to Westminster
Image from Save South Tyneside Hospital.
People in South Tyneside will be heading to Westminster amid calls to save hospital services.
On June 9th a deputation of 17 people from South Tyneside and Sunderland are going to Parliament to hand in a petition, signed by 44,000, pushing back against the apparent “downgrading” and “privatisation” of services.
A spokesperson from the Save South Tyneside Hospital campaign said:
“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.”
The “Path to Excellence” scheme was launched after the merging of South Tyneside and Sunderland’s NHS trusts, which aims to improve services and treatment while ensuring the future of high quality, sustainable care.
From next year, the government have outlined plans to move other acute services away from South Tyneside, including coronary care and ITU, which could mean that over 150,000 people cannot access some services locally. The CCG has 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 SouthTyneside Hospital Campaign, and I look forward to welcoming their delegation to Westminster to offer my wholehearted support.”
Watch the channel on TV