Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 48 Number 4, February 24, 2018 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Empowering the People to Take a Pro-Social Direction for Society

Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign
Fights On In Defence of its Health Services

Part of Hands together at the front of South Tyneside District Hospital during the lunchtime
protest vigil of hospital staff and people from South Tyneside on February 16th 2018

On February 21, the South Tyneside and Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) took a brutal decision on the future of the three key maternity, stroke and paediatric services at South Tyneside District Hospital. Under this decision, these services would be moved from South Tyneside to Sunderland Royal Hospital. At the meeting where the decision was announced, no one was allowed to comment, or ask a question. Many people remarked how stage managed it was and most of the issues raised by them were not resolved before they railroaded through the decision.

Part of the lobby prior to the CCG meeting on February 21
Below is the statement the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign (SSTHC) gave following the decisions of the CCGs to the press following the meeting. As can be seen from the statement, Ken Bremner, Chief Executive of the South Tyneside Foundation Trust (STFT) claimed that he initiated the process long before he became Chief Executive, telling the CCG that "no change was not an option".

In brief, the decision was to downgrade the Children's A&E from a consultant-led 24/7 service to a 12-hour nurse-led minor injuries by April 2021 finishing at 10pm. In the meantime, the consultant-led service would be downgraded to 12 hours finishing at 10pm by April 2019. The obstretric maternity service would downgraded to midwife-led, and no stroke unit at all would be kept at South Tyneside.

The SSTHC is determined to fight on to roll back this decision-making where the views and interests of the people are left out of account. The Campaign is fund-raising to mount a legal challenge. See:

Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign Statement in Response to February 21st 2018 CCG decisions.

The consultation has been a complete sham. 7 months ago on July 5th the CCG started a consultation on pre-determined options. Throughout the consultation, or the review carried out before, we never got any information or any sense that showed they had actually listened to the clinical staff, or the people of South Tyneside.

Lunchtime protest vigil of hospital staff and people from South Tyneside on February 16th 2018

Ken Bremner Chief Executive of South Tyneside Foundation Trust (STFT) and City Hospitals Sunderland admitted at the meeting of the CCGs announcing these decisions that two years before he had told the CCG that "no change was not an option". However this was before he was Chief Executive of STFT! So this was pre-determined and it was no wonder that there were never any options in the consultation that gave the people of South Tyneside anything other than worse access to hospital services and the moving of services to Sunderland.

Our solicitors have written to the CCGs saying that any decision based on this consultation will be unlawful and we reserve the right to challenge these decisions.

Nothing in the consultation, or their decision says that we don't have a right to these services at our hospital. Our clinicians and the people of South Tyneside should decide not those that are in the pockets of the government's down grading of our NHS and its privatisation.

We are still here. We are unvanquished as a united campaign to save our hospital services and we fight on because people have a right to these services at our hospital. Health Care is a Right! It is our Hospital and our NHS!

For the background to the Campaign, see: Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign and the Fight to Save Hospital Services


Link to Full Issue of Workers' Weekly

RCPB(ML) Home Page

Workers' Weekly Online Archive