HARTLEPOOL hospital’s accident and emergency department is to close in six weeks, the Mail can reveal.
Hospital bosses confirmed the A&E department at the University Hospital of Hartlepool will shut on Tuesday, August 2.
Patients in Hartlepool and east Durham in need of emergency attention will be dealt with at Hartlepool’s new £20 million One Life Centre.
The end to the long-running saga comes after the A&E department was declared unfit for purpose
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by an independent review by health professionals, academics and local councillors.
A&E is one of three round-the-clock health services in town that are being transferred to a newly-created urgent care centre at the One Life Centre in Park Road.
Carole Langrick, lead director for the momentum programme, said: “The momentum programme is all about moving care out of hospital where possible and closer to people’s homes.
“Most services aren’t moving out of the town of Hartlepool, they are just being provided in a different place.”
It means that minor injuries previously dealt with by the A&E department, the Victoria Road walk-in centre and the out-of-hours medical service will all be based at the One Life Centre.
Patients will be directed from there to the right service for them.
The changes are part of the Momentum: Pathways to Healthcare programme being led by the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.
Ali Wilson, director of commissioning and system development at NHS Hartlepool, said: “Adults and children with less serious accidents, injuries and illnesses will be able to go to the urgent care centre at One Life Hartlepool in Park Road.
“There they will be directed to either the minor injuries service, the walk-in centre or the out of hours medical service so they get to the right team straightaway.
“Most patients with serious medical problems will be taken straight to the emergency assessment unit at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.”
Patients who call 999 will be assessed by the ambulance service and taken to the right place.
Health chiefs say in most cases, that will be the emergency assessment unit at the Holdforth Road-based hospital.
Hospital bosses will hold a series of public meetings over the next six weeks to raise awareness among people of what to do in an emergency.
MORE reaction in tomorrow’s Mail