CAMPAIGNERS demanding that health services stay in Hartlepool have reacted with anger after hearing the town’s hospital will close.
Keith Fisher, chairman of the Save Our Hospital group, said: “I’m wondering how Mr Foster has the audacity to say Hartlepool will close when the council of this town have voted that they have no confidence in him.
“The original plan eight or nine years ago was to close our hospital and move it all to North Tees and that seems to be what they are falling back on. We are back to square one.
“It has been predictable but nobody at the trust would dare say it. It’s unbelievable how it has been handled.
“This town will take to the streets again, there’s no doubt about it. We will carry on the fight regardless of what people say.”
Independent councillor Geoff Lilley, who is part of the Save Our Hospital campaign, said: “I always knew that Stockton would be the fallback when Wynyard didn’t happen.
“I remember asking what plan B was and was told there wasn’t one despite it being a multi-million pound project. It has been blatantly obvious that it was going to be Stockton but no-one would say it. Now it looks likely it will be the case.
“I think if Wynyard went ahead with private money it would be a dereliction of duty to take on such a burden in the current financial climate.
“But there’s no good reason why Hartlepool should close. It is about time a judicial review was held over the whole thing because it’s a mess.
“There have been so-called consultations for people in Hartlepool to air their views but North Tees was never mentioned as an option, and I can’t think of one single incident where a view from the public has been implemented by the trust.
“It’s a disgrace.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Edna Wright said: “This is a sad day for Hartlepool and I feel physically sick.
“If this had been properly thought out, Hartlepool is a newer hospital with better facilities, so why was it never discussed to bring Stockton over here?
“It is disgraceful the way this has been happened.
“Once word got out about this yesterday I spoke to a lot of people from within the nursing profession and they were all devastated.
“Heads need to roll, this is a disgrace and the powers that be in London have a lot to answer for if this brings an end to Hartlepool hospital.
“Everyone is living in difficult times and every person in Hartlepool is being affected by what is happening.”