HEALTH bosses say they are still feeling “optimistic” of securing Government funding towards the new £300m hospital at Wynyard and expect to hear back within six weeks.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is looking to secure £100m and a business case was submitted for scrutiny in July.
It comes amid fresh calls for councillors to vote again on a proposal to refer the recent decision to transfer all remaining emergency and critical care services out of town to the Health Secretary – after claims the changes were a “done deal” before the consultation had started.
The plan remains for the new hospital, which would replace the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, to be open by 2017.
A funding decision for the part-capital funding and part-privately funded scheme is expected within six weeks.
David Emerton, medical director for the Trust, was speaking at a meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council’s audit and governance committee.
Mr Emerton said: “The Department of Health are currently scrutinising our plans and we have been promised a further response within six weeks.
“We are still optimistic that it would be a yes. Providing we get that yes within the next six weeks then Wynyard is still on for 2017.”
At Thursday’s full council meeting, the majority of councillors opted against referring the decision to transfer remaining emergency and critical care services to Jeremy Hunt amid concerns Hartlepool Borough Council did not have sufficient grounds to do so.
That was despite independent councillor Keith Fisher revealing he had received a phone call from a town GP who claimed doctors had been told back in May that the changes were a “done deal” before the public consultation had even started.
Now councillor Jonathan Brash has called for the full council to reconvene.
Coun Brash said: “I would formally request that this matter is looked at again, in the light of new evidence, and that an extraordinary meeting of council is called to re-examine this matter.
“We have a moral duty to consider all the facts and to put the people of Hartlepool first.”
Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, ceremonial mayor, said: “I would be more than happy to call an extraordinary meeting of council providing the GP concerned is able to corroborate, in a written statement to council, confirmation of the information supplied by Coun Fisher at the council meeting.”
From next month North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust will close four emergency medical wards at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, with a total of 135 beds removed and 200 jobs affected.
Hartlepool’s critical care unit, which includes two intensive care beds and two high-dependency beds, are also to be relocated to the University Hospital of North Tees.
Dr Boleslaw Posmyk, chair of Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We have undertaken our duties in relation to consultation with the utmost professionalism, openness and transparency and we are very disappointed if some people believe that this was not the case.”