TOWN MP Iain Wright says proposals for a new hospital at Wynyard should be scrapped and services returned to Hartlepool if a decision on funding is not made quickly.
Mr Wright says the delay by the Government on the £272m new hospital project is taking too long and threatening health chiefs’ wider Momentum programme to transform services in the region.
His comments come after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt refused to be drawn on whether a funding decision on the hospital would be made before next year’s General Election.
Hospital leaders are seeking £100 million from the Government towards the Wynyard project as well as a mix of private finance and public dividend capital.
Mr Wright said: “There has been far too much dithering and delay about this vital matter.
“The fact that the Government has not prioritised this issue and still refuse to come to a decision four years after they scrapped funding show how little regard they have for people in this part of the world.
“I have said this several times in Parliament over the last couple of years.
“The Momentum programme and proposals to find funding to build a new hospital are running out of kilter.
“You can’t have one without the other, and it is looking like funding is not available.
“The options are therefore very clear: either a definite decision on the funding for the hospital is provided without delay, or the Momentum programme is scrapped, with services moved back to Hartlepool as part of a strategic review looking at specialisation of acute health services at the two sites of Hartlepool and North Tees.”
Mr Hunt said the issue was under close consideration.
But he added the Government had to prevent against previous Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) which left massive debts when the NHS struggled to pay back private funding.
Hospital chiefs from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust admit they are “frustrated” by the delays.
The trust has blamed the waiting time on the need to transfer all remaining critical and emergency care from Hartlepool hospital to North Tees in Stockton.
Wynyard Hospital is one of three parts of the Momentum: Pathways to Healthcare programme.
It also includes providing new community based facilities to provide existing community services as well as those relocated from hospital, and settings remodelling and redesigning care pathways.