Hospital campaigners are to hold a rally in Hartlepool in support of the NHS.
Pressure group Fighting 4 Hartlepool Hospital is holding an event in Victory Square at noon on Saturday, October 15, to highlight its concerns that the NHS is under threat in the town.
It is going to be a 24-hour service, but it is going to be GP-led.Glen Hughes
Spokesman Glen Hughes said the group was concerned about what it sees as creeping privatisation of NHS services.
NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group announced this week that urgent care services will be delivered from University Hospital of Hartlepool, rather than the One Life facility in Park Road.
But Glen Hughes said the service would not be a return of full accident and emergency provision.
“Unfortunately, this is going to be a private provider, rather than the NHS,” he said.
“I am pleased it is going back to the hospital, but other than that, I can’t see anything very positive.
“It is going to be a 24-hour service, but it is going to be GP-led.
“It is basically an out-of-hours GP service – if you go in there with breathing difficulties, you will be turned away.”
The group believes plans to centralise accident and emergency services for Teesside and North Yorkshire at Middlesbrough’s James Cook Hospital will place an undue burden on NHS resources.
“When we first got details of this, it was about closing North Tees because Wynyard was going to be built,” said Mr Hughes.
“Now that is not happening, but services are still being closed.
“It is about another six miles, but there is also the issue of rush hour traffic.
“When you have got ambulances having to go further afield, if they have to go to James Cook, that is going to add to the pressure on the ambulance crew.
“We have invited all the local councillors from Hartlepool and the MPs from Durham, Stockton and Hartlepool.
“We have some national speakers who have confirmed, but we are still finalising the line-up.”