The petition of residents of the constituency of South Shields,
Declares that the downgrading of South Tyneside Hospital announced in the “alliance” between South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust (STFT) and City Hospitals Sunderland (CHS) with loss of acute services will be a disaster for the people of South Tyneside and the people of Sunderland; further that the removal of all acute services to Sunderland will make the Sunderland A&E unsustainable and will mean that people from South Tyneside will have to travel to Sunderland or Newcastle; further that the immediate threat of this “alliance” is the loss of acute stroke and maternity services; further that the decision to downgrade South Tyneside Hospital demonstrates that the Government’s direction with the NHS is to reduce its funding and damage it through its fragmentation into purchasers and providers, closure of acute hospitals and A&E Departments, cut-backs and the takeover of the most profitable services by private health companies; further that the Government has a duty to provide a comprehensive health service across England to all communities; and further that access to healthcare is a right of all in a modern society and we demand that it be guaranteed.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to work with NHS England, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group and South Tyneside Health & Well-being Board to stop any plans to close acute services at South Tyneside District Hospital and to safeguard its Accident and Emergency Service.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck , Official Report, 9 June 2021; Vol. 696, c. 1063.]
Observations from the Minister for Health (Edward Argar):
There are no plans to move all acute services away from South Tyneside District Hospital.
The “Path to Excellence” programme of reconfiguration of services at South Tyneside is a five-year programme across South Tyneside and Sunderland to optimise the services available across the region.
Due to Covid-19 the five-year programme was paused to support staff to prioritise the pandemic response, but the CCG is now looking to resume this reconfiguration process.
NHS England will share more detailed plans later this year, which will then go out to consultation. This initial focus is on improving surgical services, including at the accident and emergency department, to make sure more people have timely access to operations and reducing the significant backlog of patients now waiting for treatment.
The changes already made to improve stroke and maternity services have had good feedback following consultation with patients. The final stages of the urgent paediatric care improvements are taking place this summer.