Government offers to work with trust on hospital plans

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THE Government says it will continue to work with local hospital leaders if and when they resume plans for a new state-of-the-art hospital.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has shelved work on a planned £300m hospital at Wynyard for at least 10 months after failing to win “high level political support”.

The scheme hinged on the trust securing £100m from the Government.

Trust leaders have come in for criticism from Save Our Hospital campaigners in Hartlepool who have called for services to be reinstated at the town’s hospital in Holdforth Road.

But trust chief executive Alan Foster blamed the whole process and said there were too many hurdles to jump through.

The Department of Health, which the hospital trust had been involved in talks with about funding for the Wynyard scheme, says it will still work with the trust in the future.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “We have been considering the trust’s business case for a new hospital.

“Following the trust’s decision to put on hold further planning, we will continue to work with them when they resume work on their proposals.”

Hartlepool UKIP parliamentary candidate Phillip Broughton says the news that the project has been put on hold came as no surprise to him.

He criticised town Labour MP Iain Wright for failing to protect the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Mr Broughton set up a Save Hartlepool Hospital Facebook page in August.

The page, demanding hospital services including A&E are reinstated at Hartlepool, currently has just over 2,000 likes.

Mr Broughton said: “I wasn’t surprised at all that the Wynyard Hospital project was suspended.”

Mr Broughton and users of the Mail’s website and Facebook page criticised Mr Wright accusing him of not doing enough to protect Hartlepool hospital.

Pauline Whittingham said on Facebook: “We need our services back asap.”

Marie McGonnell added: “No amount of complaining will bring services back, this was always going to be the outcome. I can’t believe anyone thought they would build it in the first place.”

An angry user by the name of Mondaygirl said on the Mail’s website: “How dare Alan Foster dictate to the people of Hartlepool about closure and services in OUR hospital who does he think he is!

“A lot of people are going to lose their lives if this fiasco travelling on the A19 continues!

“What about another protest march with everyone attending who feels so strongly...Ian Wright...YOU....are an utter disgrace.”