A SPOKESMAN for the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “The proposals to centralise critical and emergency medical care at the University Hospital of North Tees are to ensure we can continue to provide the highest standards of care for critically ill people in the lead up to the new hospital.
“Our doctors have told us this move is necessary to allow them and our nursing and therapy teams to meet the standards we all expect and deserve.
“People in our area have known for a long time that we cannot continue to provide hospital based services on two existing sites. This is because of changes in the way doctors are trained, difficulties in retaining and recruiting the highly skilled staff needed to provide these services and advances in medicine which mean services need to be concentrated in one place.
“Of course people would like all healthcare on their doorstep, and under the proposals, 97 per cent of health contacts would continue to take place in Hartlepool.
“With new technologies such as telehealth our highly skilled community staff can support people at home and often prevent them needing to come into hospital.
“However, when people do become seriously ill our doctors, who are committed to providing the very best healthcare possible for everyone we serve, say they will be able to maintain and improve services if all of these patients are looked after in one place.
“We are very disappointed about the delays in building the new hospital because a new facility built on the A19 and A689 with much improved transport links is the best solution for everyone living in the area we serve. We are determined to bring the new hospital to the area and we are doing everything we can to make this a reality.
“For planned operations people can and do choose where they go for their care and we would support the right of patients to do this.
“However, for emergency care the ambulance service arrive on scene and, using agreed procedures, takes the patient to the right team of experts who can give them the most appropriate care.
“During the 12 weeks of the consultation on these proposals there will be many opportunities for people to give their views.
“We are listening and we do want to take people’s views into consideration on this very important issue.”