Hospital services move plans on hold

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HEALTH chiefs have agreed to postpone plans to move a string of hospital services.

Plans have been put on hold to move several services from the Univeristy Hospital of Hartlepool to One Life Hartlepool, in Park Road, in a phased programme that was due to start next month.

The proposed relocation of rheumatology, diabetes, and respiratory outpatient clinics was set to start in July, followed by the proposed transfer of pain services, acupuncture and electrical nerve stimulation treatment between August and the end of October.

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The final phase, starting in September, was due to see the relocation of the ear, nose and throat clinic, core physiotherapy and anti-blood clotting treatment.

Now NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has agreed to postpone plans to relocate out patient services until thorough discussions have taken place between clinicians and Hartlepool Borough Council’s Health Scrutiny Forum, which will commence on Thursday this week.

 Dr Boleslaw Posmyk, chairman of the CCG, said: “While our CCG Clear and Credible (Commissioning) Plan, which was presented to the town on February 28 at the Hartlepool Maritime Experience, aims to improve clinical outcomes for patients and bring care closer to people’s homes where clinically safe to do so.

“We also want to make sure that the public and the town’s Health Scrutiny Forum are able to shape any plans to change the way services are delivered in Hartlepool.

“We look forward to our ongoing discussions over the

coming months.”

Dr Posmyk previously said the proposals are part of the Momentum: Pathways to Healthcare programme and there will be no change and/or reduction in services offered to the population of the town.

Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, chairman of Hartlepool Health Scrutiny Forum, said: “I believe a wider discussion is required about how services are run in Hartlepool, how financial pressures impact and how first class services for our town are maintained.

“I welcome the move to postpone the changes.”

The Labour councillor has previously spoken of his concerns about the future viability of the hospital if more services are removed and the pressure it will put on One Life Hartlepool.

The health scrutiny forum meeting on Thursday will take place at 10am in the Council Chamber in the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.