Hartlepool hospital development is the ‘best thing in years’

The University Hospital of Hartlepool
The University Hospital of Hartlepool

A new integrated urgent care department at Hartlepool hospital has been hailed as one of the best things to happen in years by one councillor.

The round the clock GP-led service will set up in the University Hospital of Hartlepool from April 1.

Counillor Ray Martin-Wells

Counillor Ray Martin-Wells

It will include GP out of hours services for nights and weekends, and treatment of minor injuries.

Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) says it has responded to the public’s wishes about having services at the town’s hospital.

It comes as the Government has faced criticism over pressure facing the NHS’ emergency services and issues relating to social care.

The move into the town’s hospital was welcomed by members of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Audit and Governance Committee.

This is one of the most positive moves that certainly Hartlepool has seen in a generation

Councillor Ray Martin-Wells

Coun Ray Martin-Wells, chair of the committee, said: “I think it’s safe to say this is one of the most positive moves that certainly Hartlepool has seen in a generation and I would congratulate the CCG for taking the initiative, listening to what members of the public and councillors have told you over the last few years in putting this together.

“For the first time in the history of Hartlepool we will have a GP-led service available 24/7 every day of the year.”

But he called NHS communications “abysmal” adding: “I think it’s crucial that the message goes out there. Things like signage are going to be crucial.”

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust will deliver the service in alliance with Hartlepool and Stockton Health and the North East Ambulance Service.

Karen Hawkins, the CCG’s associate director of commissioning and delivery, said the new model would build on work to ease pressures on the whole care system including increased demand locally and nationally on GP practices and A&E.

She said: “This service has been developed on the feedback that we have received from patients and from the public.

“We expect that the new service will improve the experience of patients when they turn up to the integrated urgent care service in Hartlepool and they will be seen in the right place at the right time.

“There will be a multi-disciplinary team wrapped around the service to make sure that patients are being seen by the right professional.”

Coun John Tennant said he was unhappy about the lack of an A&E, but added: “I’m pleased we are heading in the right direction towards a decent level of provision in Hartlepool.”

Members of the committee stressed there should be a widespread public information drive including use of social media.

Ms Hawkins assured: “We will be using all platforms of media.”