Mayor’s U-turn over A&E vote

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MAYOR Stuart Drummond has sensationally withdrawn his support for a motion condemning health bosses over the closure of the A&E department at Hartlepool’s hospital.

Speaking at last night’s meeting of the full council, Mayor Drummond said it has had no real affect and that he would rather work closely with the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.

In September, the full council unanimously backed the motion of no confidence in Alan Foster, chief executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, chairman Paul Garvin and the rest of the board following the closure of A&E at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Mayor Drummond also called for the A&E department to re-open at that meeting.

Speaking last night, Mayor Drummond said: “I am going to have to withdraw my support from that motion. As far as I can see, it does not mean much.”

He added: “I would rather we work very closely with them as a council.”

But his stance was condemned by Liberal Democrat councillor Edna Wright, who said: “They are disgusting comments. First of all you are nailing your colours to the mast, then pleading to re-open A&E, and now you have the audacity to withdraw your support.”

Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher said: “The vote of no confidence in the trust has been heard loud and clear.”

Mayor Drummond later said he still shared concerns about the health trust. He said: “My position is that I have no confidence in the council to affect any changes on the NHS trust.”

Earlier, independent councillor Geoff Lilley asked Carl Richardson, chair of the council, when an official letter was sent informing the Trust of the motion.

Coun Richardson said he was never specifically asked to send a letter to the trust but said they were well aware of the motion and also confirmed he had written to the Government

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