MORE than 2,500 residents signed an online petition on the day the Mail launched a campaign to restore hospital services to Hartlepool.
Under the banner of ‘Bring Them Back’, we gained the support of town MP Iain Wright and representatives of all of the political groups in Hartlepool in our bid to rally the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to start bringing services back to our hospital in Holdforth Road.
The launch of the campaign coincided with NHS England publishing a detailed Five Year Forward View report on the future of the health service, which includes guidance on how services can be kept local rather than axing smaller hospitals.
It also came a week after bosses at the Trust admitted it was shelving plans to build a £300m hospital at Wynyard until after the General Election after being left frustrated by a series of delays and wranglings over how the facility would be funded.
Within hours of the story appearing online, hundreds of residents backed the cause by adding their names to the petition.
And that figure has continued to rise throughout the night with people clearly concerned that the latest Wynyard delay could result in North Tees in Stockton becoming the Trust’s main base should any further facilities be stripped away from Hartlepool.
Mr Wright said: “Those figures do not surprise me.
“They just go to show the strength of feeling from the people in hartlepool who want these services brought back as soon as possible.
“People were always uneasy over Wynyard, there was always uncertainty over it which grew every time there was a delay.
“The announcement last week was the final straw, we don’t want to have a centralised service at North Tees, that is wholly inappropriate for the people of Hartlepool, and now is the time that the Trust needs to listen.”
The Trust has vowed to continue to press ahead with plans for Wynyard after next year’s election in the hope that Government changes will allow the project to move forward.
• TO add your support to the campaign, sign our online petition here or call into the Mail reception in Wesley Square, Hartlepool, to add your name to the list.
The petition will eventually be passed onto the hospital trust, NHS England and the Department of Health in a bid to bring about changes.