A HOSPITAL chief has spoken out to quash rumours that he was leaving the trust.
Alan Foster, chief executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, says he has no intention of leaving and stresses he is committed to delivering a new £300m hospital at Wynyard.
The Mail has received numerous calls from hospital sources suggesting Mr Foster’s position at the trust was in doubt.
But Mr Foster spoke out and said there was no truth in the speculation.
He told the Mail: “I wish to say categorically that I have no intention of leaving the trust for the foreseeable future, and I am committed as ever to delivering our strategy of a new hospital and integrated community services.”
Mr Foster has come under fire in Hartlepool in recent years over the Trust’s plans to close the University Hospital of Hartlepool in Holdforth Road in favour of a new building on land at Wynyard.
He has also been criticised from local hospital campaigners and members of the public following the closure of Hartlepool hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department in August 2011.
It was after a review concluded it could not attract enough senior staff to run the service safely.
The move led to Hartlepool Borough Council passing a vote of no confidence in the trust’s board.
And in May this year, councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher called on Mr Foster to hand back his MBE if the remaining emergency and critical care services were transferred from the Hartlepool site to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.
The decision to go ahead was made last month by the the NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees and Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield clinical commissioning groups.
The trust says the new hospital will be the “final piece of the jigsaw” in efforts to transform local health services.
It is part of the Momentum: Pathways to Healthcare programme which aims to provide treatment closer to people’s homes, with only critically ill patients going into hospital.
The Trust is currently working towards an opening date of 2017.