Council will take lead on bringing hospital services back to Hartlepool

Christopher Akers-Belcher.
Christopher Akers-Belcher.

THE meeting between health service delivery bosses and hospital campaigners has been hailed as “positive and constructive”.

Discussions with representatives of the Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the delegation that travelled to London for talks with Government minister Jeremy Hunt over the state of town health services, was held at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, was among those who attended and he told the Mail that it was agreed the local authority would now lead future consultation on the quest to return services to the town.

He said: “We had a very positive and constructive meeting and clearly the Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) do see this as an opportunity to work with the council to deliver local health services that meet residents’ needs.

“It was agreed that the Hartlepool and Stockton CCG would approach its neighbouring CCG in East Durham, so that together we can develop a credible plan to submit to NHS England that gives local people choice over where they access local health services.

“It was also agreed that Hartlepool Borough Council would take the lead on future consultation which is paramount in the ongoing efforts to bring services back to Hartlepool.”

The residents of Hartlepool want to see services transferred back from North Tees to Hartlepool, including A&E, and this is something that we will continue to fight for and never give up.

Council leader Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher

Coun Akers-Belcher added: “As a council we have made our position very clear to everyone including Stockton and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and the Secretary of State for Health.

“The residents of Hartlepool want to see services transferred back from North Tees to Hartlepool, including A&E, and this is something that we will continue to fight for and never give up.”

A spokeswoman for the Hartlepool and Stockton CCG, which commissions the local healthcare services, said: “The CCG meet regularly with Hartlepool Borough Council and we work collaboratively to ensure we provide safe and sustainable services to patients.

“Patients’ views are invaluable in helping us reach the right balance in all our decisions.

“That’s why we work so hard to understand what local people think of the NHS services provided in the area.

“The safety of patients remains paramount in any decision we make regarding services.”

Those who attended included Coun Akers-Belcher, Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, Independent Councillor Paul Thompson, Conservative Councillor Brenda Loynes, Putting Hartlepool First Councillor Keith Dawkins, chief executive of Hartlepool Council Dave Stubbs, director of Child and Adult Services Gill Alexander, director of Public Health Louise Wallace, and Dr Boleslaw Posmyk, chairman of Hartlepool and Stockton CCG, and Ali Wilson, chief officer of Hartlepool & Stockton CCG.

• An extraordinary meeting of the full council is being held on Thursday, March 12, to discuss the meeting with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and whether or not to hold a public referendum vote of no confidence in the senior leadership of the hospital foundation trust.

It will be held at Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre from 7pm.