£300m hospital budget on table

PLANS to build a new £300m hospital could come a step closer when health chiefs meet this week.

Hospital bosses will discuss new funding plans for the state-of-the-art development at Wynyard Park when the board of directors meet on Thursday.

Plans for the hospital were thrown into disarray last summer when the new coalition Government withdrew 464m of public cash for the scheme.

But North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust vowed to find private backing for the project and has come up with a revised outline business case.

As revealed by the Mail at the end of last year, hospital leaders are working towards a new 300m scheme after finding millions in savings from the budget.

A spokesman for the hospital trust said: "The board will hear how, following the withdrawal of public funding in June 2010, it went back and looked at the business case.

"The Government did not question the need for the new hospital when they withdrew the funding, just how it would be paid for.

"Since then the trust has looked at ways of reducing the money it will need to borrow from the private sector to build the new hospital without compromising quality."

The new hospital is planned to replace the existing Hartlepool and North Tees University hospitals as a central part of the Momentum:

Pathways to Healthcare Programme.

If the new business case is approved by the board and supported by the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, the scheme could be advertised as early as April to attract developers to build it.

Planning permission for the hospital on land within Hartlepool's boundary at Wynyard Park had previously been granted and it has a potential opening date of 2016.

Hospital trust top brass recently visited the Middle East on a fact-finding mission to identify world-class health facilities which could be included in the new hospital.

The meeting will be held at 1.30pm on Thursday at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.

It is open to the public but the trust stresses that space is limited.