Anger over plans to move outpatient clinics

University Hospital of Hartlepool

University Hospital of Hartlepool

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HOSPITAL campaigners have hit out at plans to move several outpatient clinics to One Life Hartlepool from next month.

Nine outpatient services will be transferred from the University Hospital of Hartlepool in the town’s Holdforth Road to the new health centre in Park Road.

They include the ear, nose and throat clinic, core physiotherapy and diabetes and they are planned to relocate over three phases between July and next January.

In a letter to stakeholders, NHS Hartlepool, which commissions local health services, said the plans are part of the Momentum: Pathways to Healthcare programme to deliver care closer to people’s home in modern facilities.

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But the Save Our Hospital group says the removal of more services from the hospital, following the loss of the A&E department last August, is bad news for the town.

Keith Fisher, chairman of the group, said: “I don’t remember that amount of work moving to One Life Hartlepool.

“It is like salami slicing where they are taking whole services away a bit at a time.

“The A&E was the massive slice and we are still fighting to have it reinstated.

“To move these other services is just more bad news for the town.

“I don’t think it’s right to move more work to One Life Hartlepool.

“If I were to present the patients who have had personal and bad experiences at One Life it would take a long time to hear their compaints.”

One Life Hartlepool, which includes a 24-hour minor injuries unit and walk-in GP centre, has come under fire from some patients for the quality of urgent care they received.

Phase one is the proposed relocation of rheumatology, diabetes, and respiratory outpatient clinics by July.

Phase two plans to transfer pain services, acupuncture and electrical nerve stimulation treatment between August and the end of October.

The final phase, starting in September, will see the relocation of the ear, nose and throat clinic, core physiotherapy and anti-blood clotting treatment.

Patients who use the services will be contacted directly and given the chance to raise concerns or comment.

Dr Boleslaw Posmyk, Chair of NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “As part of the Momentum: Pathways to Healthcare programme, it is proposed that a number of outpatient clinics are to be relocated from the University Hospital of Hartlepool to One Life Hartlepool.

“The proposal being considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in June, forms part of the overall Momentum: Pathways to Healthcare programme which was formally consulted upon in 2008. A key element of this programme is the delivery of care closer to home, in modern, up to date facilities.

“The proposed moves will be within the town of Hartlepool and there will be no change and/or reduction in services offered to the population of the town.

“The proposed moves will be carried out in a phased way to make the transition smooth for patients and the staff who will be looking after patients in this different location.

“NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group and North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust are committed to ensuring a seamless approach to the proposed relocation of these services.”