Health bosses adamant Wynyard hospital will open by 2017 despite funding concerns

An artist's impression of the Wynyard hospital
An artist's impression of the Wynyard hospital

HEALTH bosses say they are still on track to open the new £300m hospital at Wynyard by 2017 after describing talks with the Government about part-funding the scheme as going “better than expected”.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is looking to secure £100m from the Government towards the new state-of-the-art hospital – and a business case outlining the proposals will be submitted by the end of July.

It is hoped a decision will be made by August over plans for the part-capital funding and part-privately funded, or PF2, scheme.

But it has also been confirmed existing planning permission for the Wynyard site, first granted in 2009, runs out this October, and officials will have to submit a revised application to Hartlepool Borough Council.

Trust chiefs say the latest talks with officials from the Treasury, Department of Health and Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, “went really well”.

Speaking at a board meeting, held at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, directors also confirmed if the funding is secured, the new hospital would still open in 2017, although it may be a delayed by a couple of months.

Alan Foster, trust chief executive, said he still believed the current construction timescale of 34-months could be cut to 30 months.

Paul Garvin, trust chairman, said real progress had been made in the last two months, adding: “Recent meetings seem to have gone really well and probably better than we could have expected.

“They have given us a clear path forward.”

Lynne Hodgson, director of finance, said: “It is positive and now depends on the submission of the business case and the feedback from the Department of Health and the Treasury.”

Mr Foster, who said they have ”left no stone unturned”, added: “We have to submit a revised planning application as the existing one runs out in October.”

Barton Willmore LLP have been appointed planning consultants.

If it opens in 2017, that is two years later than planned after public funding for the hospital was withdrawn when the Coalition government came to power.

It led to the trust looking into a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) arrangement before talks with pension fund companies as the PFI route stalled.