Health chiefs ‘hellbent’ on closing Hartlepool’s fertility unit, claims MP

The row continues over Hartlepool's specialist fertility unit
The row continues over Hartlepool's specialist fertility unit

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright has accused health bosses of being “hellbent” on closing Hartlepool’s valued fertility unit.

Commissioners announced late on Friday that they had been unable to find a new provider of licensed treatments, such as IVF, at Hartlepool hospital’s Assisted Reproduction Unit.

Iain Wright (left) and Dr Mohammed Menabawey at an earlier council meeting on the fertility unit

Iain Wright (left) and Dr Mohammed Menabawey at an earlier council meeting on the fertility unit

Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said there had been a limited response during the tender process and the bids did not meet required quality standards.

The CCG says it is working with other NHS providers to keep unlicensed fertility services in Hartlepool, but patients receiving licensed treatments will have to look elsewhere.

Mr Wright described the news as “very disappointing” adding: “The unit in Hartlepool has been built up and is now recognised throughout the medical world as a leading provider of assisted reproduction services.

“It seems odd that clinicians working in IVF would not be attracted to working in a service which has such an excellent reputation.”

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which currently runs the unit, said last year it could not keep the unit safe due to problems recruiting and keeping embryologists.

Former consultant Dr Mohamed Menabawey, who originally built up the Hartlepool fertility service, offered to help look for suitable staff to keep the unit open.

Mr Wright added: “It doesn’t look as if this offer was taken up and that health bosses have been hellbent on carrying on with their original plan to close the unit, despite the distress and disappointment this will cause to users of the service, and despite the wishes of the town, which wants to retain excellent health services in Hartlepool and see hospital services return.”