Work to improve health and social care in Hartlepool has began after the first meeting of a new group set up in the wake of hospital concerns.
The new Local Health and Social Care Plan Working Group held its first meeting to explore issues around elderly care.
The hospital will be a key part of the discussionsProf David Colin-Thomé
The working group, headed by independent chair Professor David Colin-Thomé, was formed by Hartlepool Borough Council after calls to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to step in to see services returned to Hartlepool’s hospital.
It was held due to public concerns around hospital bosses shelving work on a new £300 million site at Wynyard.
Prof Colin-Thomé said options for Hartlepool hospital would form an important part of the group’s work, but it will also look at the bigger picture and also include how social care is provided.
He said: “Even though there is a lot of emotion around the hospital, what we are trying to say is how do we move forward for better services?
“Some work already being done in hospitals can be done in the community nowadays. But the hospital will be a key part of the discussions.”
The first meeting of the new working group at the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CETL) in Brierton Lane was well attended by members of the public, councillors, council chiefs and the Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Chief executive of the council Gill Alexander said the authority was committed to working with the CCG to make the best decisions around how care is provided.
She said: “We have to look at the whole health and social care across the town from the hospital to the care people need in their own home.
“What we are trying to do through this is bring together a range of people who have a real interest in shaping a future health and social care system for this town which will respond to some real challenges we are facing to do with an increasingly ageing population, more complex needs and some of the poor health outcomes as a result of high disadvantage across the town.”
The working group is due to meet once every four to six weeks and future meetings will look at primary and community based services, urgent care and A&E, maternity, children and mental health.