On Saturday the 22nd of October Emma was joined by Stephen Hepburn MP for Jarrow, Unison, Unite, GMB, PCS, The TUC and hundreds of campaigners who took part in a protest march in South Shields organised by the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign to highlight concerns about the future of services at South Tyneside Hospital. It was announced at the event that the petition had reached over ten thousand signatures.
Earlier this year South Tyneside Hospital formed an ‘alliance’ with Sunderland Hospital, at the time Emma objected to the lack of consultation around this ‘alliance’ and expressed fears that it was in fact a precursor to merger, at the rally Emma spoke about decisions being made without consultation in an underhand and undemocratic way and told the crowd that the merger between local Hospitals is now looking like a takeover. Emma highlighted peoples’ concerns that already without any consultation South Tyneside has lost its stroke unit. Very soon ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’ produced by Northumberland Tyne and Wear Clinical Commissioning Group will be presented to the government. The government have mandated local areas to merge and make savings, in other words- close services, these plans then need to be signed off by local Councils. Emma urged local Councillors not to make Jeremy Hunts job easy and fight these cuts.
Speaking after the event Emma said ‘I and others are not going to sit back and let local decision makers continue to lock us out of discussions and consultations giving the government a free pass to downgrade our hospital. Today there has been a very clear message from the people of South Tyneside and that message is hands off our hospital’.
You can see a short video of Emma’s speech by clicking here
Further coverage can be found by viewing the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign website by clicking here