South Tyneside hospital decision referred to Westminster

Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Councillors on South Tyneside are recommending that proposals to change hospital services for residents in South Tyneside should be referred to the Secretary of State for Health.

Members of the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee agreed to refer the matter on the grounds that the Path to Excellence consultation was inadequate and that the proposals are not in the interests of the health services in the area.

The Committee had been sent a letter from South Tyneside and Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Groups advising that any plans to delay the review of hospital services could put lives at risk.

This Committee has spent very many hours scrutinising the proposals put forward by the CCGs. We recognise that local hospital services are an emotive topic for our residents and for ourselves as people who live in the Borough but this decision has been made for clear and valid reasons.

Co-Chair of the Committee, Councillor Rob Dix

At the meeting, councillors were thanked by residents and members of the Save South Tyneside Hospital campaign group for referring the matter back to Westminster.

The decision to refer the matter to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, will now go to South Tyneside Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Sunderland Council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee for ratification.

However, the NHS says the changes are unavoidable and any delays will bring risks.

We are really disappointed that local politicians feel that they cannot support these important changes to vulnerable services.

Dr David Hambleton, chief executive officer at NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group