WOMEN patients are having to travel to a neighbouring hospital for operations because of a shortage of senior staff in Hartlepool.
All gynaecology in-patient services have been transferred from the University Hospital of Hartlepool since early January.
Patients now have to travel to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, 12 miles away.
Hospital bosses said it was because of an “unexpected absence” of senior medical staff.
It meant Hartlepool hospital could not provide out of hours, on-call medical cover needed for patients who have had surgery.
The staffing problems do not affect gynaecology day case services at Hartlepool.