‘Better placed to fight for services’

A HOSPITAL campaigner has vowed to fight on to keep vital health services in Hartlepool after being elected as a councillor.

Independent councillor Keith Fisher, who is chairman of the Save Our Hospital campaign, says he is now in a better position to fight for services to be retained at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Coun Fisher was the third-ranked contender to take a seat in the Hart ward on Hartlepool Borough Council with 532 votes and has been elected to represent the ward for two years.

The dad-of-one has been involved with the Save Our Hospital campaign, which aims to keep hospital services at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, for the past nine years.

He spearheaded the campaign and helped gather 30,000 signatures on a petition calling for hospital services to remain in Hartlepool.

Bosses at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals in Hartlepool and Stockton, are planning to close the current sites and move services to a single hospital on land at Wynyard.

But Coun Fisher says he will never stop the fight to keep services in the town and says that being elected as a councillor will increase his ability to keep battling.

Coun Fisher said: “The truth is that I have not been allowed in the ring.

“But what I am saying now is that I’m in the arena and I’m hoping to get my message across.

“We have to think positively and I’m never going to give up, but now it is going to be better.

“Now I have a better platform.”

The retired engineer, who worked for Head Wrightson for 42 years, and retired as works manager is married to Elaine Fisher and is dad to Michael Fisher, 38.

Mr Fisher, a former district president of the Engineers’ Union, has vowed to speak up for residents on a range of issues and not just on hospital services.

He added: “I have had nothing but support on the doorstep and that has been uplifting.

“People recognised me as having campaigned for the hospital services, but I am here for residents to help them with any issues they may have.”

The hospital campaigner, who has never been a councillor, is a former president of the Hartlepool Constituency Labour Party and former member of the national Labour Party and national Liberal Democrat party.