No further action over questions gaffe

COUNCIL chiefs will not take any further action after someone failed to post scores of residents’ questions to health bosses over the closure of Hartlepool’s A&E department.

Hartlepool Borough Council says it has tightened up its administrative procedures after the mistake.

The incident has been put down to human error, and no-one has been disciplined.

Dozens of written concerns over the unit’s closure were submitted to the council after a public meeting at the end of September.

It was after hospital chiefs refused to attend to hear people’s grievances after claiming feelings were running so high that it would be “a modern day version of the stocks”.

But people were told the trust would answer their questions if they were put in writing.

A council spokesman said: “We greatly regret the mistake which was made.

“We have apologised unreservedly for it and have accordingly tightened up our administrative procedures.”

The council eventually posted the letters on Friday when the blunder came to light.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust confirmed it has now received them and is in the process of answering them.

They will then be returned to the council.

The embarrassing gaffe emerged when concerned councillors raised questions about why people had not received any answers four weeks after the extraordinary public meeting was held.

Keith Fisher, of the Save Our Hospital Campaign, called the error “unforgivable” and “disgraceful”.