The downgrading of South Tyneside Hospital was announced as part of the “alliance” between City Hospitals Sunderland (CHS) and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust (STFT) in April 2016. CHS is now planning a “merger” with STFT.
The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign (SSTHC) started its fight to oppose the resulting loss of acute services in May 2016. People throughout the borough - including health staff - joined us knowing that this will be a disaster for the people of South Tyneside, and also for the people of Sunderland whose access to acute services will be under pressure by the closure of acute services in South Tyneside.
Since then SSTHC has organised many demonstrations, with several taking place outside the hospital. Hundreds have attended our public meetings, and in 2018 our petition exceeded 40 thousand signatures.
At the moment the Trust executives are preparing phase-2 options for public consultation in 2019. These are likely to downgrade more of our acute hospital services, including our A&E.
In the meantime we will be mobilising people to support our campaign around a Judicial Review to keep open our children's 24/7 consultant-led A&E, the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU), the consultant-led maternity, and the hospital stroke service. Those in control of our local health services have - so far - not listened to the medical staff or the people of South Tyneside in making these decisions, so we are fighting to overturn them.
The attempt to downgrade South Tyneside Hospital is fundamentally a result of the whole direction in which the government is taking the NHS. It is deliberately reducing NHS funding, it is wrecking the NHS so it can enrich the private health corporations at the expense of our health care.