BOSSES at the health trust insists centralising services at North Tees is “the only option” following the latest delay in the Wynyard fiasco.
In a lengthy statement issued to the Mail, the trust said it was disappointed at the shelving of the Wynayrd plan, but insisted it remained committed to building a new hospital.
Chief Executive Alan Foster told the Mail on the day the announcement was made that the new hospital plans were being shelved that there were no plans to recall services to Hartlepool.
And in the statement, no reference was made to the Holdforth Road site though the trust did pledge to “provide as much healthcare as possible in and around the town of Hartlepool”.
The full statement said; “We deeply regret we had to announce a pause in the work on the new hospital but the board felt that, without high level political support, there was no alternative.
“We want to make it completely clear that centralising services at the University Hospital of North Tees is not the ideal option but, faced with no way forward on the new hospital and the ever increasing standards of safety and quality we are, quite rightly, expected to provide, it is the only option.
“We know this is not ideal for the people of Hartlepool and East Durham, which is why we want to build a new hospital because it would be centrally located and fairer for everyone in our catchment area.
“The trust is disappointed, not only for itself but also for the whole of the community.
“A new hospital as part of a transformed healthcare system to serve the needs of our children and our children’s children is what we having been striving for and it is a bitter blow to be faced with the decision to pause.
“We are still very much committed to building a new hospital in the geographical centre of the area we serve.
“Our planning to transform health care will continue as will our commitment to provide as much healthcare as possible in and around the town of Hartlepool.
“We very much welcome the five-year plan announced by NHS chief executive Simon Stevens.
“To provide integrated local authority, primary care and hospital services makes complete sense and we will be working with our partners to try and achieve this in the interests of local people.
“The new hospital models proposed by Simon Stevens will still need to take on board the safety and quality standards required for the care of seriously ill or injured patients in critical care, emergency medicine and accident and emergency.”