A HOSPITAL trust hopes to get the go-ahead for a new £300m hospital before Christmas.
The ceremonial mayor of Hartlepool, Stephen Akers-Belcher, told a council meeting that ambitions for the state-of-the-art facility appeared to be gone at the moment.
But Peter Tindall, an executive of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust strongly refuted the claims.
And he said the trust hopes to get the official go-ahead for the project from the Department of Health and its watchdog Monitor before Christmas.
Coun Akers-Belcher referred to the delay with the new hospital as the council’s Audit and Governance Committee considered plans to move five outpatient clinics from the University Hospital of Hartlepool to the One Life Hartlepool centre in Park Road next year.
He said: “The new hospital seems to be gone for the moment. I’m concerned that plan B is Stockton. The goalposts have been significantly moved on this.”
But Mr Tindall, the hospital trust’s associate director of strategic planning, told the committee work was going on behind the scenes on the new hospital which is set to replace the two sites at Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees.
He said: “I completely refute the suggestion that there is not an active plan going forward to build the new hospital at Wynyard.
“Monitor and the Department of Health are considering the papers and by Christmas we should have an answer that we can definitely go ahead. It is not dormant or dead, it’s very much moving forward.
“We regret as much as anyone the delays to deliver the new hospital for the benefit for the patients we serve.”
A new business case was submitted to the Government and Monitor in the summer.
The trust is currently undertaking an 18-month procurement project to secure funding and appoint a contractor for the scheme. It was after public funding was pulled when the coalition government came to power.
Mr Tindall added: “I believe the trust has demonstrated its commitment to Hartlepool hospital. I hope it provides reassurance that the trust is not ignoring the needs of the people of Hartlepool, but developing services as and when the need arises.”