AS THE NHS celebrates 70 years of saving lives, Emma Lewell-Buck is fighting for the survival of South Tyneside Hospital.

The South Shields MP joined campaigners, party members, hospital staff – present and retired – and the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign at a fundraising event marking 70 years of the NHS.

Emma is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the community and fight for the future of South Tyneside Hospital.

She says: “NHS services have been pushed to the brink by the biggest financial squeeze in NHS history by this Tory Government.  We’ve also seen cuts to public health and social care.

“This simply cannot carry on, and we have got to fight for our NHS’s future.  And certainly, for the people of South Shields, I have to fight for the future of our hospital, which may otherwise become another casualty of this Government’s relentless drive towards full privatisation of our NHS.”

The local trust and clinical commission groups’ (CCG) current plans will see the downgrading of key services and the moving of acute stroke services and special care baby unit to Sunderland Royal Hospital. These decisions have been referred to the Secretary of State and for judicial review.

Despite the groundswell of public opposition, there are no protections in legislation to halt the trusts’ or the CCG’s plans. This could mean plans being executed before a decision is made about whether they should happen.

Emma has taken the debate to Parliament, where she voiced the concerns of the people of South Shields regarding the overall downgrading of South Tyneside Hospital and to hold the Government to account over their reckless mismanagement of the NHS.

Speaking after the Parliamentary debate, Emma said: “As phase one of the consultation on the future of our hospital ends, the very thought that the last baby to be born in South Shields could be in 2017 both upsets and appals me, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. 

“In 2015, our hospital was recognised as one of the best performing in the UK, the managed decline of it is an insult to the staff and my constituents. The NHS right across England is in a perilous state, shunting services from a high preforming hospital to another isn’t going to solve it.’

Labour always has, and always will, stand up for the NHS and protect the service for generations to come.

Emma promises to continue to fight locally and in Parliament to protect the NHS from further cuts and the downgrading of South Tyneside Hospital.