Specialist hospital baby plans under microscope in Hartlepool meeting

The University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, where specialist neonatal services for the Hartlepool area are currently provided
The University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, where specialist neonatal services for the Hartlepool area are currently provided

Proposals to change the way that specialist hospital baby care services are provided in the North-East will come under the microscope at a special meeting in Hartlepool this week.

Representatives from a range of health bodies, including NHS England and the Royal College of Paediatrics, will present their findings to a meeting of the North-East Joint Health Scrutiny Committee, a body representing all twelve North-East councils.

The meeting, in Hartlepool Civic Centre, takes place on Thursday, December 17, at 10am.

As part of the review it is recommended that the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, Sunderland Royal Hospital and James Cook University in Middlesbrough all continue as Neonatal Intensive Care (NIC) units but North Tees be downgraded to provide just special care.

At an earlier meeting of the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee in October of this year, councillors expressed serious concerns about the proposals and requested that full consultation was undertaken throughout the region.

At the time, Committee chair, Councillor Ray Martin-Wells, a Hartlepool councillor said: “I have major concerns about the affect the proposals would have on the region as a whole and on the people of Hartlepool.

“We need more information so that we can see what evidence there is for this recommendation. Clearly, councillors were not comfortable with this and the committee requested that NHS England attend a further meeting so that they can explain themselves.”

The full report can be viewed by visiting www.hartlepool.gov.uk