Councillors say they fear for the future of a South Tyneside hospital where up to 27 jobs are set to be shed.
A 30-day consultation period has began at South Tyneside District Hospital over the the roles, which are coming from bands 7 to 8c – the top section of NHS earners.
The news comes just weeks after South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust announced an alliance with City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.
Despite Trust bosses saying the job losses have nothing to do with the alliance, Coun Lee Hughes, a Putting People First representative for the Bede ward, is worried for the Harton Lane hospital’s future
He said: “The rumours started circulating that our hospital was going to be downgraded the minute the alliance was announced.
“Now, just weeks later, we learn that up to 27 jobs have to go. Where is this going to end and what exactly will we be left with?”
What exactly will we be left with?Coun Lee Hughes
He added: “I believe this is just the beginning and there will be a lot more people, and services, leaving South Tyneside Hospital rather than joining it.
“I really hope I am proved wrong about this.”
Coun John McCabe, a Labour representative for Hebburn South, is also keen for the hospital to retain as many services as possible.
He said: “I don’t just want this hospital to say the same, I want it to flourish and provide more services for our residents. This is a must for our community.”
Ian Frame, the Trust’s executive director for personnel and development, said: “The restructuring is a purely internal matter for the Trust and is in no way linked to our developing alliance .”