CIVIC leaders have made an impassioned plea for the Secretary of State for Health to step in and help bring services back to Hartlepool’s hospital.
Hartlepool Borough Council chiefs are now waiting to hear what the next stage of the hospital fight will be after sending a letter to the Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt.
After councillors voted unanimously to pass their concerns to Whitehall, a three-page letter was posted to Mr Hunt earlier this week.
The letter informs Mr Hunt of the long-running Wynyard saga and calls for him to either come to Hartlepool to gauge the strength of feeling in the town or to invite a council delegation to the capital.
Hartlepool’s ceremonial mayor, Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher is the main signatory on the letter, followed by chief executive Dave Stubbs, council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher and then all of the councillors who attended the public meeting at the Town Hall Theatre last month.
Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher says the local authority is now waiting to see what the response from Whitehall is.
He said: “We’re playing the waiting game now, but the letter outlines the feeling in the town and also expresses the disappointment we have in North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.
“People have been ignored, and the trust have stuck two fingers up to both the council and the people of Hartlepool.
“They haven’t listened to us, so this letter is the next stage and it has gone to the top.
“The trust have been critical of councillors and the council. This is the most senior part of our democratic set-up and the arrogance they have shown is beyond belief.
“At times, when I see and hear some of the comments that come from the trust, it is like they are operating in their own little bubble.
“They have strung people along for years with the promise of a new hospital, and they have failed to deliver it.
“They have let us all down, but they continue to ignore us.
“We have reached an impasse now, but as a council it was agreed to keep up the pressure and this letter to Mr Hunt does that.
“It is in the hands of the Government now, and now it is a case of seeing what the response is before we can do anything else.”
The letter includes reference to the Mail’s Bring Them Back campaign, which this week broke through the 10,000-signature barrier.