Questions raised over decision

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SAVE Our Hospital leader Keith Fisher once again questioned how hospital bosses could push ahead with plans for a new hospital despite the council’s vote of no confidence and widespread public opposition.

The independent councillor for Hart ward said: “They are an unelected department in a democratic society and democracy has spoken and said clearly we don’t want this.

“No matter how good or bad a deal they get is irrelevant.”

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said he hoped the move is based on clinical reasons and not saving money.

He said: “I urge everybody from the trust and council to work to ensure that doesn’t happen.

“Transport and access has always been absolutely key to the location of the hospital at Wynyard.”

Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, chair of Hartlepool council’s health scrutiny forum, remained cautious.

He said: “The trust may have plans in place but I will believe in the new hospital when I see the money in a bank account and firm plans in place.

“I hope that the plans are not a distraction form front line services delivered at the Hartlepool site.”

Councillor Ray Wells, Conservative group leader, welcomed the announcement.

He said: “Hopefully this will bring to an end speculation as to whether or not there will be a new hospital built at Wynyard once and for all.

“As this will fall within my ward I’m taking particular interest in its development and the jobs that it will create.”