Hartlepool hospital trust loses £735,000 on land deal – MP demands VAT refund

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HOSPITAL trust bosses say no money has been lost on the re-sale of the new hospital land which cost £4.2m - BUT the trust lost £735,000 paid in VAT when it was bought.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust bought the piece of land at Wynyard for the hefty price tag back in 2010, and paid a 17.5 per cent VAT rate to the treasury for it.

Iain Wright the MP for Hartlepool

Iain Wright the MP for Hartlepool

And although the re-sale of the land back to Wynyard Park Ltd remains the same as the purchase price five years ago, the VAT cost of £735,000 will not be refunded.

Today Hartlepool MP Iain Wright called for the trust to lobby the Government for a refund on the VAT due to the money originally being intended for the town as it is cash which could be spent on valuable health resources such as extra nurses, doctors or equipment.

He said: “The trust need to go to the Department of Health and explain that given the situation can we have this money (the £735,000 spent on VAT) back into the local healthcare system please.

“Three quarters of a million pounds would provide an awful lot of resources for the local NHS in terms of nurses and doctors, and if this money has gone back into the treasury then why can’t it come back?

The money was originally intended for Hartlepool, why can’t it come back?

“The money was originally intended for Hartlepool, why can’t it come back?”

He added: “I would welcome working with the trust to put pressure on the Government over this issue.”

After hearing news of the re-sale of the land back to Wynyard Park Ltd, Mr Wright said: “This development in terms of the option on the land lapsing, confirms that Wynyard is not going to happen, which has been my view since October last year.

“As Wynyard has not been completed, services naturally have to return back to Hartlepool.”

The trust revealed that the multi-million pound site, which was earmarked for the potential building of the new hospital at Wynyard, is being re-sold back to Wynyard Park Ltd.

It is linked to the original land sale agreement made back in 2010 and the re-sale of the land must be made by today.

The site’s sale five years ago had a number of conditions attached to it, one was the trust being able to secure funding to build the new hospital, which it has been unable to do.

The news, which will come as a huge blow to thousands of people in the town, could be a final nail in the coffin of the hospital plans, following last October’s announcement by trust bosses that they were shelving the £300m development at Wynyard after failing to secure £100m funding from the Government to build it before the General Election.

Hospital campaigners, Mr Wright and the Mail’s Bring Them Back campaign all called for services to be urgently reinstated to the University Hospital of Hartlepool, but the trust’s chief executive Alan Foster said they would not return and could not rule out further provisions being stripped away.

The arrangements to sell the land back was made to ensure the money could be brought back into the NHS if necessary and did not leave the trust with a piece of land it could do nothing with.

Trust bosses say they still believe a new hospital in the centre of the area is the best option, but as that has not come to fruition then services have had to be centralised at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, for safety and quality reasons.

They say pooling staff and doctors, such as intensive care, at one site is safer for patients.

Discussions about the shape of services being offered at both hospital sites in the future are now under way.