A CONCERNED councillor believes plans to create 75 extra car parking spaces at the University Hospital of North Tees will make that site more viable than Hartlepool hospital.
Independent councillor Keith Fisher said increased parking at Stockton would boost revenue to the detriment of the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
But officials at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust - which run both hospitals - say they are extending the car park to cater for extra visitors after the transfer of some services from the site in Holdforth Road.
They say money raised from its car parking goes towards improving lighting and security, with any additional income going into frontline services at both hospitals.
Coun Fisher raised his concerns at Hartlepool Borough Council’s audit and governance committee. He said: “We have car parking at Hartlepool that is doing nothing.
“If they are going to build more car parking at Stockton, that will make them more revenue and make them more viable than Hartlepool.”
But health bosses have hit back.
Alan Foster, chief executive for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are creating a further 75 parking spaces at the University Hospital of North Tees to make sure we can accommodate the number of visitors to the hospital following the transfer of emergency medical and critical care services from the University Hospital of Hartlepool to the University Hospital of North Tees.
“We charge for parking, and use the money raised to constantly improve lighting and security. Any additional money raised goes back into frontline services across both hospitals at the trust.
“We would like to remind people living in Hartlepool, Peterlee, Easington and Sedgefield that there is help available when travelling to hospital at either Hartlepool or Stockton.
“There are different types of support available to help people. We run a free shuttle bus service which runs regularly between our hospital sites, and a volunteer driver scheme which has been set up to help people get to their appointments.”
Between 2011-12, the two sites brought in £650,952 from staff parking and £835,791 from visitors. Expenditure on security, maintenance and upkeep on the car parks and inter-site shuttle for staff and visitors cost £670,828.
To book a seat on the shuttle bus or the volunteer driver service, call (01429) 522550 or go to www.nth.nhs.uk/transport