COUNCILLORS will meet tonight to discuss controversial changes to health services in Hartlepool.
Dozens of concerned residents are expected to cram into the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road, for the extraordinary meeting of the full council.
It comes after the closure of the A&E unit at the University Hospital of Hartlepool on August 2 sparked anger among residents.
The department was declared unfit for purpose after an independent review by health professionals, academics and councillors from the health scrutiny forum back in March.
Patients in need of emergency attention are now being dealt with at the £20m One Life Hartlepool, in Park Road.
Coun Edna Wright has registered a motion for a vote of no confidence in the health trust, and has called for fellow members to “put their cards on the table” when it comes to a show of hands.
Ahead of the meeting, the Hartlepool Mail carried out a poll of all 47 councillors plus Mayor Stuart Drummond.
In response to the concerns reflected on our website, in our letters pages and over the telephone, we put five questions to your representatives.
Our survey revealed the majority of councillors are against the A&E closure, there are strong feelings against the closure of the Holdforth Road site but there is mixed views on proposals for the new state-of-the-art hospital at Wynyard.
Proposals for a Vote of No Confidence in the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have been met with a mixed response.
Councillors say they have little control over health-related decisions but say they can try and influence them through council committees.
Concerned members have also called for more accountability in the decision-making process.
A trust spokesman said the changes to emergency care services have been made to provide patients with “safe and high quality care”.
The spokesman said: “These changes also form part of the Momentum: Pathways to Healthcare programme which is designed to bring services into or closer to people’s homes and only provide in hospital what cannot be safely, efficiently and sensibly done elsewhere.
“Following an extensive public consultation held between June and August 2008 the proposed location for the new hospital, which is also part of the momentum programme, was decided upon.
“Planning permission to build the hospital at Wynyard was granted by Hartlepool Borough Council in 2009.
“The revised outline business case for the new hospital is currently with the Department of Health and we’re planning for the hospital to open in 2016.”
Ali Wilson, director of commissioning and system development, said: “NHS Hartlepool remains committed to delivering high quality local services in Hartlepool and we will continue to work closely with all healthcare providers and partners to achieve this aim.”
Health bosses will be at the meeting, which starts at 7pm.
There is only room for 60 people in the public gallery, and council chairman Carl Richardson has urged people to act responsibly even though he acknowledges “emotions are running high”.
Coun Richardson has also revealed that the meeting will be videoed in the interest of public safety.
* See tomorrow’s Mail for a full report from the meeting.
WE asked the following five questions to all 47 councillors, plus Mayor Stuart Drummond.
1) Do you support/agree with the closure of the A&E department at the University Hospital of Hartlepool?
2) Do you support/agree with the proposed closure of the University Hospital of Hartlepool?
3) Do you support/agree with the proposals for the new hospital site at Wynyard?
4) As there is increased anger from residents, is there anything a ward representative can do for their constituents in relation to changes to health services in town?
5) Will you support tonight’s Vote of No Confidence in the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust, as proposed by campaigners from the Save Our Hospital group?
• Mayor Stuart Drummond; Ind.
1) Yes. I support the changes to the way that the services are being delivered, I feel it is a big improvement on what we had before.
2) There is no proposed closure date.
3) Absolutely. Everybody’s efforts should be concentrated on getting the new hospital site at Wynyard, which would mean the closure of the current site.
If we don’t get that then I would be extremely fearful about the future of the hospital service in town.
4) The biggest issue that I have seen is that people do not understand the changes; communication has not been great.
A lot more could be done to make the changes, and the reasons behind the changes, a lot clearer.
5) No. A complete waste of time.
Nobody is going to resign. The Trust is trying to improve the health service across the North Tees area in very difficult circumstances with increased budget cuts.
• Martyn Aiken; Ind; Foggy Furze.
1) No I do not support the closure of A+E.
2) No I do not agree with the closure of the University Hospital I see it as a backward movement for a town this size.
3) No I do not agree with proposals for Wynyard given it is being built on a site which has for one thing no public transport services and none planned for the foreseeable future according to the information I have.
4) Yes they can help residents form petition groups and lobby central government on their behalf, for the truth as to why the loss of this vital asset is being allowed.
5) I definitely would support a vote of No Confidence, as the consideration, well being of the vast amount of the general public
• Christopher Akers-Belcher; Lab; Rossmere.
1) No. This would never be a chosen position to be in. I am confident the new reconfigured service provides a robust service to meet the needs of patients albeit provided over two sites i.e. accidents at the Urgent Care Centre within the One Life centre and Emergencies via the Emergency Assessment Unit within the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
Feedback from residents within my ward of Rossmere has been positive, indicating the minor injuries unit provides a very efficient service with waiting times far less than those experienced at the former Accident & Emergency Unit.
2) No. Hartlepool remains a viable site and currently provides some excellent services such as the Maternity Unit. Should the new proposed hospital not be realised we must safeguard a wide range of services at Hartlepool to meet the needs of residents.
3) Based on the information in the public domain I would welcome any world class facility, which would provide better services to the people of Hartlepool.
4) Ward councillors can represent the views of their constituents by attending the council’s health scrutiny forum. These are also public meetings where any resident can become involved. Unfortunately the current decision makers within the hospital Trust are unelected officials and whilst the council can make recommendations the Trust remains the decision maker.
In the future Councillors will form part of the proposed Health & Wellbeing Boards, which will take on a decision making role in the commissioning of services.
5) No. I would find this course of action most destructive when all affected parties involved in the consultation and provision of health services need to put patient care, patient safety and clinical excellence as their primary objective. Campaigners would better serve the people of Hartlepool by engaging in the statutory consultation processes rather than regrouping after decisions have been made.
• Stephen Akers-Belcher; Lab; Rift House.
1) No: I am of the opinion that Hartlepool should have its own A&E based within the town’s Hospital. However I feel we need to scrutinise the arrangements of the minor injuries unit to see how it is serving the town over the coming months.
2) No: Hartlepool should have a hospital that can meet the needs of the town and the wider area.
3) I am very concerned regarding the proposed finance of this hospital plan. I am opposed to PFI within public services such as hospitals. A new hospital seems appealing however transport links and access is a key factor to be considered. I feel the trust should be outlining how they will make Hartlepool hospital sustainable.
4) I am very frustrated by the lack of say local councillors have. I feel it is our job to monitor changes that have occurred, challenge proposals that are not in the interests of Hartlepool and listen to the people and communicate concerns to the Trust.
5) Hartlepool hospital and its services should be the issue we are focusing on. The next few years are going to be challenging and we need to build a strong working relationship with the Trust and commissioners. This can only be done on trust itself. A vote of no confidence in my opinion is a case of window dressing. In reality it will not achieve anything and it is not within our remit to cast such a vote. This will not have any effect. If a vote of no confidence is to be made then it should be done by foundation Trust members at the AGM in September 2011.
• Allan Barclay; Lab; Throston.
1) No, the town needs to have an A&E department, but the minor injuries service at One Life Centre has not been in operation for very long, to make any kind of judgement as to whether is successful or not. It is very important that we monitor and challenge the health Trust to ensure that Hartlepool receives the finest services possible and that it does not just become a further eradication of the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
2) No, the town needs a hospital and we must ensure that the current University Hospital of Hartlepool continues to be in operation until a new one is fully commissioned. If the current proposals do not go into fruition then the health Trust should ensure that the existing hospital remains in place!
3) I am a member of the Planning Committee, so I cannot answer this question for fear of prejudicing taking part in the process, but I will only act in the best interests of the people of Hartlepool.
4) The current system is undemocratic as decisions are being taken by the PCT and the Foundation Trust without any elected member (your ward councillor) being involved. However, elected members of the Labour Party are taking steps and challenging the government on this very issue and demanding that we have representation on all boards for public health.
In the meantime as indicated by my answer in Q1 we are closely monitoring services and challenging these bodies where it is deemed necessary through the health scrutiny forum.
The forum has the power to challenge and make the NHS answer questions and if not satisfied report the matters to the Secretary of State if necessary.
5) Local healthcare is far too important to use as a political football. It is my belief that it would be more beneficial to the people of Hartlepool if we were to work with the NHS Trust and the bodies that make these decisions to ensure that we get the excellent medical services we deserve.
• Jonathan Brash; Lab; Burn Valley.
1) No, not in the current circumstances as I believe it threatens the viability of our hospital in the medium term, which I fear may result in its closure ahead of the proposed new hospital opening. That said I think the clinical model for the delivery of accident and emergency services in Hartlepool is sound.
2) I do not support the closure of the University Hospital of Hartlepool before a new world-class hospital for Hartlepool has been built and opened. If that hospital were not to materialize then I am absolutely clear that our hospital must not close.
3) Ultimately in the long-term I think the Momentum programme, which seeks to deliver more services closer to people’s homes, while at the same time developing a brand new, world-class hospital is the right one for the town. It will improve patient care and save lives, but this is some years off, and in the meantime services must be retained in our current hospital and not transferred out of the town.
4) The decisions about the way health services are delivered in Hartlepool are taken, in the main, by the unelected boards of the PCT and the Foundation Trust and there are no Hartlepool councillors on either. Currently the health scrutiny forum is the only real power the council has to hold the NHS to account and it can ultimately refer matters to the Secretary of State for Health if it believes the decisions of the local NHS are wrong.
Most councillors though (including myself) do not serve on this forum and so all we can do is speak out when we believe a decision is not right. I have spoken out repeatedly against the A&E closure, including when it was first proposed and when the independent review published its findings, and I have done this both publicly and directly to the decision makers themselves.
5) As someone whose mum has had three operations in the last three years because of cancer and who had them at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, I know full well the importance of our health services. The dedication and skill of NHS staff is exceptional and we should cherish and defend the amazing work they do saving lives each and every day.
Regardless of position or political affiliation, whether you are a resident, a councillor or an NHS employee (or a combination of all 3) I actually believe that we all share the same goal – we want the best healthcare for Hartlepool. Attacking people helps no-one, it does not reverse decisions and it does not improve health services for our town.
• Rob Cook; Lab; Hart.
3) As Chairman of Planning I cannot prejudice my position on the committee with possible future applications.
4) Residents anger is well founded. As a councillor I do not have any powers that can affect Hartlepool NHS Trust decisions. However the local Hartlepool Labour Party are trying to get the government to include cross party local councillors to have representation of at least 30% on their board. This will enable the people of Hartlepool to have a say in what goes on in the future.
5) It’s a good idea. However we all know that this will mean absolutely nothing to the Hartlepool NHS Trust. The only way forward is to implement the proposal outlined in question 4. We need to work closely together so we get the best service possible for the people of Hartlepool and surrounding areas.
• Kevin Cranney; Lab; Foggy Furze.
1) No. The town needs to have an accessible local A&E department.
2) A definite No! We need to ensure that the existing building remains in place operating a full range of services, particularly for elderly people.
3) Same answer as question 2
4) At the present time as an elected member I, along with fellow colleagues, can and will continue to monitor services and challenge health services through the health scrutiny forum and as part of the labour group will continue to challenge and voice our concerns to central government.
5) No! We need to develop a better relationship with the Trust to ensure that local people are listened to and have a say on future services.
• Mick Fenwick; Lab; Brus
1) We need an A&E in a town this size.
2) We have got to keep Hartlepool hospital going to its best.
3) I am on the planning committee and cannot answer in case I default myself.
4) There is no elected members on the Trust hopefully this can be resolved.
5) We need to keep local health care. My family lives in Hartlepool, I want the best for them and every RESIDENT IN HARTLEPOOL.
• Mary Fleet; Lab; Dyke House.
1) No. The town needs an A&E Department. We need to keep monitoring and assess that part of the service to ensure that it best serves the needs of local people and does not become a part of a further move to close the hospital altogether.
2) No. We need to ensure that the hospital remains open and provides a full range of vital services that serves the people of Hartlepool.
3) As a ward councillor you can be assured I will always act and support the needs of the people of Hartlepool.
4) As a ward councillor I am concerned that no elected members are on the boards of the PCT and the Foundation Trust. It is my belief that local councillors should be part of the board’s decisions for Hartlepool people.
5) We all have families that rely upon good hospital services. The health and wellbeing of all the people is most important so therefore it is vital that we find ways of making sure the needs of local people are listened too.
• Timothy Fleming; Ind; St. Hilda.
1) I don’t
2) No and never have.
3) No I don’t. Hartlepool should have its own hospital with a population of 90,000 people.
4) Most people on the Headland are firmly behind the current hospital and keeping it.
5) Yes I would.
• Steve Gibbon; Ind; Fens.
1) I do not agree with the closure of the A&E.
2) I do not agree with the proposed closure of the hospital.
3) The only way i would agree with the proposed new hospital at Wynyard would be if the decision was made to demolish the hospital here in Hartlepool leaving the town without a hospital. The answer to your question is NO, not at this time.
4) I think we should all be fighting not only to retain the services that remain in Hartlepool, we should also be fighting to have all the services that have been removed from Hartlepool returned.
I would encourage all residents of Hartlepool to join the fight.
5) YES, I would support this.
• Sheila Griffin; Lab; Brus.
1) No. We need an A & E Department. The success of the Minor Injuries Unit must be closely monitored through the health scrutiny forum and the Health Service challenged to make sure the people of Hartlepool and East Durham receive a first class service.
2) No. Until discussions have been finalised regarding the building and completion of a new hospital it is vital that the University Hospital of Hartlepool remains open and provides a full range of services.
3) As a Ward Councillor I will always support the needs and interests of local people-.
4) At the present time all decisions are made by the Foundation Trusts and PCT Boards, there are no elected members on either board. I believe that it is imperative that locally elected members should be on any bodies with responsibility for the health of people of Hartlepool.
5) The health and wellbeing of the people is of the most importance. We all, along with our families depend on first class hospital services. Resident’s needs and wishes must be made known to the people who make the decisions at present, and ways must be found to ensure that the people of Hartlepool receive a free first class health service.
• Gerard Hall; Lab; Burn Valley.
1) In an ideal world I would support the retention of the A&E at Hartlepool hospital. However, when clinicians are saying the service is not safe or unfit for purpose it would be irresponsible to say that I support the retention of that service.
2) The hospital has not closed and there are still quite a number of services there. I will support the retention of as many services as deemed appropriate for that hospital and take clinical advice on that. There is no date for the closure.
3) Yes 100 per cent. I believe that is the way forward for services north of the Tees. We are talking about a much wider catchment area than Hartlepool. The time will come when the buildings are unfit for purpose. If the alternative is for a world class facility at Wynyard then I fully support that.
4) I don’t often agree with the current government but I do strongly welcome their proposals to create health and wellbeing boards, which will give councillors a much greater say and a louder voice.
One of the pledges is that they can have a majority of elected members which will give councillors more of an input.
5) That would be barely short of criminal to support a motion. The health trust has the interests of patients at the forefront of their minds and any decisions are based on clinical advice. I still think that the NHS is the best health care service in the world.
• Pamela Hargreaves; Lab; Owton.
1) No, I wouldn’t support any decision that could potentially leave the people of Hartlepool without the necessary care that they would need in the event of an accident or emergency.
2) I think that the people of Hartlepool deserve, and have a right to expect, world-class health care and I believe that the best way for us to achieve this is through a brand-new, world-class hospital in Hartlepool. I do not, however, support the closure of the University Hospital of Hartlepool until the new hospital is built and ready to open.
3) I think a brand-new, world-class hospital is something that we should fight tooth and nail for as it will serve the health needs of the people of Hartlepool for generations to come. Exactly where it is sited is less important to me than ensuring that we get the hospital at all. That said, if the new hospital is to be sited at Wynyard then we must ensure that the appropriate public transport and road links accompany its building and are permanent.
4) Unfortunately, the key decisions in relation to our health care are taken at a national level, by national politicians, or locally by the Boards of the Primary Care Trust and the Foundation Trust. As such, this makes it difficult and, at times, incredibly frustrating for local politicians, whose only route in is through the Health Scrutiny Forum – which the majority of Councillors do not sit on. I think it is incumbent upon us all to make our views known to our MP and to the Coalition Government, which is exactly what we are all doing.
5) As a politician I have always tried to exercise pragmatism when taking decisions and so I don’t believe that a vote of ‘no confidence’ in any way helps us to achieve what we all want – a world-class hospital delivering world-class care for the people of this town.
The NHS is more than a group of people who sit on a board, it is made up of thousands of people who do a tremendous job in often difficult circumstances and they too need our support.
• Cath Hill; Ind; Seaton.
1,2,3,4,5) No comment.
• Peter Ingham; Lab; Stranton.
1) No. We still need to have a dedicated A&E in Hartlepool
2) No. We need to keep all services in Hartlepool
3) No. Hartlepool has a hospital already in place and should be kept there
4) I think that the health authority should have elected members as there appears to be little in the way of democratic accountability. Decisions are currently in the hands of the PCT and Foundation Trust boards and doesn’t take on board residents needs or opinions. I feel that as an elected member, I should be able to put forward my residents feelings and suggestions.
5) As a local resident myself with family, I believe all services should stay at the University of Hartlepool Hospital.
• Peter Jackson; Lab; Throston.
1) I do not support that at all. A town this size deserves more than what is at the One Life Centre.
2) I do not want to see the hospital closed and I would like to see as many services as possible there.
3) If we are going to have one hospital then I would much rather it be in Hartlepool; but people in Stockton would rather see it there.
I don’t think it is any good to anybody where it is and it is all down to transport.
4) As councillors we can’t make one decision in the council that binds the PCT or the Hospital Trust to do anything.
What we can do and continue to do is make a lot of noise.
5) The trust is taking very hard decisions but they need to listen to us a bit more and to make those difficult decisions with what we want in their minds.
• Marjorie James; Lab; Owton.
1) I have already indicated previously that I do not agree with closure of the A&E Department at Hartlepool Hospital.
2) I am not aware that any such proposal currently exists so will respond as if it did. I do not agree that Hartlepool should be left without a fully functioning hospital and until the decision about where this should be has been resolved and implemented no further services should be taken away from Hartlepool. So my answer is No, I do not agree with any proposal to close Hartlepool Hospital.
3) Yes I do support the proposal for the new hospital site at Wynyard - I represent a financially deprived ward at the south of the town and the Wynyard site would mean that hospital services were nearer to them so reducing the costs they currently incur to attend hospital appointments, visiting etc at the current Hartlepool Hospital site.
4) The only thing that local councillors can do at the moment is to listen to the concerns of local residents and to try to reflect these concerns to the NHS Trust. Locally elected councillors have very little/if any influence over the decisions taken by the NHS Trust or the PCT. This is why there is a real need to look at the make up of the new Health and Wellbeing Boards and to ensure that a majority of members of these boards are locally elected and therefore locally accountable for their decisions.
5) It would be very easy to say yes, but I am not sure that this will make any real difference. It could however give the NHS Trust an excuse to become even more secretive about their intentions for hospital based services in Hartlepool on whichever site. This could mean that the Health Scrutiny Forum are forced into a position of constantly referring matters to Andrew Lansley the Secretary of State for Health who once invited to make a determination on local services could throw his weight behind the NHS Trust which would mean that they could then ignore the concerns of local people altogether.
• John Lauderdale; Ind; Burn Valley.
1) I do not agree
2) I do not agree
3) I do not agree
4) Other than express a view on behalf of residents - nothing can do
• Trisha Lawton; Lab; Rossmere.
I have not been involved with the health scrutiny committee who were partie to a report from medical experts which claimed that the A&E Department was not fit for it’s purpose.
I have been told that the reconfiguration of the A&E emergency cover was supposed to separate out minor injuries from more serious cases and cut the time that people have to wait.
But I am not happy with the way it has gone.
2) I definitely do not support or agree with any further closures at the Hartlepool Hospital. I believe the services should stay as they are or even expanded.
3) When the original plans for the new hospital at Wynyard were revealed, I agreed that the new hospital with brand new, cutting edge technology would be very good for this region provided exceptional transport facilities were available. However since the funding has been withdrawn, I am not convinced that a hospital provided by private funding would be as good or the way forward for Hartlepool.
4) As a ward councillor, my hopes would be for elected members to be able to have some influence in future decisions made by the NHS & to ensure that residents are aware of the procedures if they have an emergency in the future.
5) I am certainly not happy with the decisions made by the NHS Trust and it is a worry if decisions are being made due to funding issues rather than patient welfare. However, I am not sure if a vote of no confidence would solve anything. We need to try and ensure that residents voices are heard and insist that elected members get places on NHS Committees so they can have a say in future decisions.
• Alison Lilley; Ind; Fens.
1) Definitely not!
2) I have never supported the closure of the Holdforth Road site.
3) No. This site would have less beds than Hartlepool now, it’s also impossible to reach without own transport.
4) We need to ensure residents views are represented at the highest level. As a council we should be together fighting to keep and bring back services.
5) Yes! I certainly would. Their agenda seems to differ from ours.
• Geoff Lilley; Ind; Greatham.
1) No the loss of hospital based A&E is criminal and should have been vigorously opposed by HBC
2) A town the size of Hartlepool needs a hospital at the heart of it where it is currently situated in Holdforth Rd.
3) No I want to see Holdforth Road as the site for our hospital. The cost of a new build at Wynyard will be too much under PFI. That money should be spent on patient care, not servicing a loan.
4) Councillors should have been leading the fight to save our hospital and its services.
There needs to be a clear call from all councillors for the reinstatement of hospital based A&E to Holdforth Road.
5) Yes and that message should be registered with the Secretary of State.
• Brenda Loynes; Con; Park.
1) I am very disappointed that the NHS Trust felt it necessary to close the A&E Dept at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
2) I would be extremely disappointed and concerned if the University Hospital of Hartlepool would close unless a new state of the art hospital would be up and running within Hartlepool’s Boundary.
3) As a new Hospital at Wynyard would still require detailed planning permission and I occasionally substitute on the Planning Committee it would be wrong of me to predetermine any future planning issues.
4) As an elected member I feel monitoring the situation very closely is my main duty and feel that if there where to be further loss of services or replacement services were not fit for purpose I would not hesitate to contact our Group Leader Councillor Ray Wells as a member of Health Scrutiny Committee to take whatever action necessary to resolve the issues.
5) I would fully support a vote of no confidence if there is enough evidence to do so.
• Sarah Maness; Lab; Grange.
1) No. The town needs to have an A & E department.
3) I would rather see our hospital services retained in Hartlepool at the current site, but in the worst case I’d prefer to see a brand new hospital at Wynyard than no hospital at all.
4) Members of the Labour Party are taking steps to challenge government on this issue and demanding that locally elected councillors make up at least 30% of the boards of any body that is responsible for local public health. What elected members can do (and are doing) is to continually monitor services and challenge these bodies through the Health Scrutiny Forum whenever there are concerns. The Forum can, and will, compel the NHS to answer questions and refer matters to the Secretary of State for Health if they are not satisfied with the answers. However, as the system currently stands, we do not have representation on the boards and have no opportunity to vote against their proposals.
5) I think we should send the Trust a strong message that the people of the town are not happy with the way hospital provision has been handled.
• Ann Marshall; Lab; Rossmere.
1) No. The town should have an A&E department. As for the new service I think that it is to early to say how it is working. I know that my colleagues who sit on the Health Scrutiny Forum will be monitoring and assessing the service to make sure that it is working correctly and for the benefit of the residents of Hartlepool and to challenge when necessary the Health Trust.
2) No. Until the proposed new building is built we need to make sure that the University Hospital of Hartlepool operates a full range of services.
3) As I do not sit on planning I place my trust in my colleagues who do, to make the right decision at the time that is in the best interest of Hartlepool residents.
4) At the present time I am concerned that as councillors we do not have a say in how decisions are being made in regards to the Hospital. I know that myself and my Labour colleagues are working hard to make sure that in the future this will change i.e. Health & Wellbeing Board.
5) I want to make sure that residents of Hartlepool and I include myself in this, get a first class service that is free at the point of delivery.
• John Marshall; Ind; St. Hilda.
1) No I do not agree with the closure.
2) I would support a brand new hospital because it would bring all the services into one place and be close to enough for people in Hartlepool and the collieries.
But I would not support Hartlepool’s hospital closing until that one was complete, open and functioning,
3) I do agree with that site; it is easy to get to from all places.
4) I do not believe there is. The councillor’s voice is becoming less and less with the current structure. It is about time that changed.
5) Absolutely support that. I really do believe that the government needs to get a grip on these unelected bodies.
• John William Marshall; Lab; St. Hilda.
1) No I don’t support the closure of the A&E. Only time will tell what the new service is like.
2) No I don’t support the closure of our hospital. We need to make sure that is viable until such time a new hospital is built.
3) I don’t sit on planning and would expect that my Labour colleagues will make the best decision at the time.
4) I am concerned about the lack of democratic accountability in the current system. At present decision have been taken by the Foundation Trust and the PCT without any member involvement. I am not happy with this and working alongside my Labour colleagues we are demanding that this change and hopefully on the new Health & Wellbeing Board we will have representation.
5) I do not think that attacking the Foundation Trust or the PCT in this manner will help us achieve our aim of getting representation on the Health & Wellbeing Board. We need to be able to work alongside each other so that we get the best services we can for the people of Hartlepool.
• Christopher McKenna; Con; Throston.
1) I was frustrated to learn that due to the lack of trained doctors the NHS Trust decided to close Hartlepool’s A&E Department.
2) I could not support the proposed closure of Hartlepool Hospital until we have a suitable replacement up and running within Hartlepool.
3) I fully support any proposal that would give Hartlepool residents back a fully operational hospital.
4) I understand the anger from residents and I will be keeping a close eye on the changes that have already taken place within the town. If I suspect that the new services are not performing as they should be I would pass this information on to the Conservative member on Health Scrutiny Forum, Coun Ray Wells, who I know from past experience would do whatever it takes to resolve the problem.
5) If the NHS Trust’s decisions are detrimental to the people of Hartlepool, then I would support a vote of no confidence.
• George Morris; Con; Park.
1) I was very upset that the Health Trust of North Tees & Hartlepool felt they had no choice other than to close the A&E department.
2) I would not support the closure of our hospital unless the new hospital is up and running and able to take patients before Hartlepool hospital closes its doors.
3) As vice chairman of the planning committee it would be wrong of me to predetermine any future planning application.
4) As a backbench councillor, I will be keeping a very close eye on the recent changes to our town’s health services and if I felt they were not up to the job, I would take my concerns to the Conservative Group Leader, Coun Ray Wells, who I have every confidence would do whatever was necessary in order to resolve those issues.
5) If it was shown that the NHS Trust of North Tees & Hartlepool have acted against the best interests of the health of residents of our town then I would support a vote of no confidence.
• Robbie Payne; Lab; Stranton.
3) NO PFI is to expensive the money should be used to improve services at the general hospital.
4) We can take forward their concerns the one life centre is a nightmare for traffic and this will impact on residents quality of life in the area.
5) If anything is constructive we should all support the best means to keep hospital services at the general hospital.
• Arthur Preece; Lib Dem; Fens.
1) No and I never have.
2) The answer to that is no.
3) It is difficult in the sense that first of all I am not convinced that it will happen, secondly the new hospital will be substantially smaller than the North Tees and Hartlepool sites combined and thirdly it depends on how it is financed. PFI tends to be expensive and in effect it is like a millstone round the building’s neck for the rest of its life.
4) There is very little that a ward representative can do in effect because the decisions are taken by an unelected body.
It does not seem to be at all responsive to what the council says anyway.
5) Obviously I would want to see the case that is being put but I would certainly be inclined to support a motion like that.
It would need more consideration.
• Carl Richardson; Lab; Grange.
1) A town this size needs an A&E department. I can understand why it has closed for health and safety reasons because they don’t have enough doctors.
But it has been allowed to get like that.
2) Not until we have a new hospital.
3) I cannot prejudice my position on the planning committee
4) We have to keep on at the Trust and the Strategic Health Authority and yes there should be more accountability.
We should have elected members on the health trust that are accountable to the people of Hartlepool.
5) I would suggest that in some respects that it does not go far enough.
I think that they have been appalling in their communication and that needs to be addressed. Hopefully that will be addressed at the full meeting.
• Jean Robinson; Lab; Hart
1) I disagree with the closure
2) I want to keep it open.
3) I would support the proposals at Wynyard; it would be better than travelling through to North Tees.
4) We can talk and try to reassure residents and air their concerns to the Trust.
5) Not sure at this stage.
• Trevor Rogan; Lab; Brus.
1) Dead against it
2) Dead against it
3) If it was not funded using PFI then I would support that. It depends whether it is state-of-the-art also.
4) Councillors need to keep putting pressure on MPs and the health minister to get the NHS and associated bodies to be more accountable. These bodies are made up of unelected people.
We need to keep pushing to change that.
5) I would support a vote if it was put forward by the Labour party.
• Jane Shaw; Lab; Stranton.
Unavailable for comment.
• Linda Shields; Lab; Dyke House.
Unavailable for comment.
• Chris Simmons; Lab, Grange.
1) No. A town the size of Hartlepool needs to have an A & E department. The recent reconfiguration of the minor injuries service part of that service has not been operating for long enough to judge whether or not it is completely successful, although, to be fair, reports so far seem to indicate that it is working well. We will continually monitor and assess how that part of the service is working and strongly challenge the health Trust to ensure that it really does best serve the needs of local people and also that this re-configuration does not become yet another move to prematurely close the current University
of Hartlepool Hospital facility.
2) No. We need to ensure that the University Hospital of Hartlepool continues to be a viable entity until the proposed new world-class building is fully commissioned. In the event that the current proposals were to fall through, the health Trust should ensure that the existing facility remains in place and offers a full range of services. In the meantime, a full audit of services across the area needs to be undertaken by the Trust to identify which services can be re-located back to Hartlepool.
3) As a member of the Planning Committee I cannot prejudice my taking part in the process that will consider this matter by offering an opinion at this time. However, be assured that I will only ever act in the best interests of local people when taking part in that decision making process.
4) As a ward councillor, I am deeply concerned at the lack of democratic accountability in the current system. Decisions are currently taken by the boards of the PCT and the Foundation Trust without any elected member involvement. Locally, members of the Labour Party are taking steps to challenge government on this issue and demanding that locally elected councillors make up at least 30 per cent of the boards of any body that is responsible for local public health.
In the meantime, what elected members should do (and are doing) is continually monitoring services and challenging these bodies, through the health scrutiny forum, whenever, and wherever they have concerns. The forum can, and will, compel the NHS to answer questions and refer matters to the Secretary of State for Health if they are not satisfied with the answers given.
5) Local health care is a matter of vital importance to us all, irrespective of the part we play in protecting local services. We all have relatives and others close to us who depend upon readily accessible, excellent local services being in place. I believe that it is more productive to bring the wishes and needs of local people to bear on the bodies that currently make these decisions through dialogue, rather than to attack them in this way. We need to find constructive ways forward with the Trust and the PCT to ensure that local people get a world class service, free at the point of delivery here in Hartlepool.
• Kaylee Sirs; Lab; Foggy Furze.
Unavailable for comment
• Lilian Sutheran; Ind; Rift House.
1) I disagree with the closure totally.
2) I disagree. We need our hospital to remain where it is.
3) If we were to get a state-of-the-art hospital then everybody would benefit from that, The main problem would be getting there though with the transport problems.
4) Up to now thousands of people have signed a petition and they have been ignored. As a ward councillor I stand as much chance as anybody else.
5) I would back that definitely.
• Sylvia Tempest; Lab; Rift House.
1) I believe that a town the size of Hartlepool needs a hospital and an Accident and Emergency Department and the Trust should be providing the most effective services for the people of the town. My understanding is that the minor injuries part of the service is now being delivered from the One Life Centre and, as this arrangement is so new - we can only assess over time how effective the new delivery model will be.
2) I do not want to see the closure of the hospital at its present site and expect the Trust to operate as full a service as possible from the site.
3) I believe that, if there is no option but to eventually close the hospital in the centre of Hartlepool, then Wynyard is a better option than people having to travel even further afield for essential services. If the proposals go ahead then I would be fighting for the best range of quality services possible for our people. In the meantime I expect that a full, effective and quality service is provided at the current site.
4) I fully understand resident’s concerns and will continue to fight for the best NHS services possible. Ward councillors need to be there to give advice, information and support on the ground whilst fighting on behalf of residents in the Council Chamber and beyond.
5) I don’t believe that a vote of no confidence is the way forward. We need to have a good working partnership with the Trust - now and into the future.
I am more concerned about the lack of democracy and accountability in the current arrangements and hope that we can achieve a partnership that includes elected members and that will always be able to fully consider the wishes and concerns of Hartlepool residents
• Stephen Thomas; Lab; Dyke House.
1) In short No. I believe that a town the size of Hartlepool should have a fully functioning A&E department. However, new operational arrangements are in place for minor injuries and it is imperative that maximum scrutiny is placed on these to ensure that any short comings are quickly identified and corrected.
2) No. In the light of ongoing uncertainty around the viability of the proposed “world class” facility at Wynyard, I feel that it is vital that UHH continues to provide services for the people of the town.
3) My main concern is that the people of Hartlepool get the best health care facilities possible. I feel that this must always be at the centre of any consideration of the future of hospital services for the people of Hartlepool. However, I do feel that there would need to be extensive and detailed consideration of access and transport issues with real outcomes which would address justifiable concerns of the people of this town if such a development were to go ahead.
4) The powers of elected members with regard to influence which can be brought to bear on the Boards of Hospital Trusts and PCT’s are very limited. Members can monitor and challenge decisions that are made by these Boards through Health Scrutiny and can refer issues to the Secretary of State for Health if it is felt that concerns which are raised have not been fully answered. However, I believe that the current system is undemocratic and that there needs to be elected member involvement in Trust Boards, thereby given a link back into locally accountable democratic processes.
5) I feel that at this point in time it is important to seek to work with the Trust in a positive way and look to ensure that the needs and aspirations of local people are fully considered in decision making processes. I also believe that there is a real need for the Trust to listen to the views and opinions of the public and their elected representatives and to acknowledge the important part health care users should play in the design, development and delivery of services.
• Hilary Thompson; Ind; Elwick.
Health services across the whole country are moving with the times. There is much less need these days for treatment in hospital, and those who need it are in and out very quickly with many as day cases. Clinical indications direct patients to the best place for treatment which could be the University Hospital of Hartlepool, the Freeman Hospital, the Eye Infirmary, James Cook, North Tees, etc. More surgery than ever is taking place in the University Hospital of Hartlepool even though there are fewer beds.
The opening of the One Life Centre in Hartlepool is the first step in bringing health care into the heart of the community with the relocation of A&E into One Life as part of this. Alongside a state of the art, world-class hospital at Wynyard, serving Hartlepool, East Durham and North Tees for those who need hospital treatment, this is the best future for our health services and I fully support it.
I have it on good authority that the new arrangements for A&E are working well and in line with expectations over these first few weeks at Park Road. Patients know all about the change and understand it.
There is NO PROPOSAL TO CLOSE the University Hospital of Hartlepool until the new hospital at Wynyard is fully operational. At that point, both North Tees and Hartlepool will relocate.
I am absolutely certain that every resident of Hartlepool wants the best possible health care for themselves and for their families. Emotional, inflammatory campaigns by those opposed to change only serve to worry people and create confusion. Instead, residents need regular, clear, reliable updates from the Health Trust, overseen and supported by Councillors to explain how services are moving forward and that they will continue to be provided in a comprehensive, safe and efficient way for our town.
So the answer to Q5 is no.
• Paul Thompson; Ind, Seaton.
2) Absolutely not.
3) In part I agree with it if the residents of Hartlepool do get the opportunity of a world class service that the Trust is talking about.
4) The short answer is no because these decisions are not taken by councillors.
All we can do is to continue to let them know that we are not happy.
5) At this moment in time I’m not sure if I will vote for or against. I want to see what the Trust representatives say.
If they want to work with us then I won’t support it but if we are hit with a brick wall then I will support a no confidence proposal.
• Michael Turner; Ind; Seaton.
1,2,3) My position since the idea of a new Wynyard Hospital, has been no reduction in services unless there was a new hospital providing the same services.
At the moment it appears we are witnessing a salami slicing of services without the new hospital and this is unacceptable.
Hartlepool is being penalised more than the other authority areas in Teesside, as far as I know, the other areas have A&E’s. It is also not yet clear how well the One Life facility is performing .
Clearly it has to be sorted out, and quick. Things seem to be in limbo at the moment.
4) I complained to a press officer at the trust about the A&E closure before the issue got hot; partly on the grounds that I foresaw confusion ahead. I was told all residents were going to get a letter shot explaining the changes. I didn’t get one and not sure others did either. That’s the sort of thing which worries me.
5) Joining other members would be a way to pressure the NHS bodies and if need be I would support a vote of no confidence. It would be unwise to move a motion , if it looked like failing however.
I would as a matter of course, pass on complaints etc from residents to the Trust, or as part of a joint effort with other members etc, either to the trust or to our own scrutiny forum.
• Ray Wells, Con; Park.
1) I am extremely disappointed that North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Trust decided they had no alternative other than to close the A&E Department at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
2) I would not support the proposed closure of the University Hospital of Hartlepool until we, the people of Hartlepool, have a fully operational and, as promised, state of the art replacement hospital built within Hartlepool’s current boundary.
3) I am unable to answer this question as I am a current member of the Planning Committee and any answer I give, for or against, would prevent me from legally taking part in any future planning application on the Wynyard site.
4) As a current member of the Health Scrutiny Forum Committee, I will be monitoring the recent changes to the health services in town, paying particular attention to the minor injuries unit at the One Life Centre and the Emergency Assessment Ward at the University Hospital of Hartlepool. If I feel that either of these services are not fit for purpose, I would report the matter directly to the Health Secretary himself if necessary.
5) I would not hesitate to support a vote of no confidence in the North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Trust providing I was shown clear evidence that their actions had endangered the lives or wellbeing of Hartlepool residents.
• Angie Wilcox; Lab; Owton
1) Put simply No, the town a size of Hartlepool needs to have an A&E Dept, from having five hospitals in the town we are in the position were are facing no hospital services, the new services have not really been running long enough to make an informed judgement on yet.
2) Again No, we need to make sure that the hospital continues to be viable, I struggle with why millions can be spent on a new hospital rather than spending the million on the current site
3) Unfortunately I cannot answer on behalf of the NHS trust as too why this decision was made, speaking as someone that doesn’t use hospital services at all really, I can only comment on the comments I have received from residents in the Owton area, they are deeply concerned, how will they get there, if they don’t drive, they wont be able to afford taxis, and the current situation of moving services from Hartlepool is causing families real hardship
4) Again I am deeply opposed to the removal of hospital services to Hartlepool, how do you go from five hospitals in the town to one that is operating fewer and fewer services as the weeks go by. As a ward councillor we can monitor the situation and raise issues and concerns to the health scrutiny forum who will act on our behalf as a council to get the answers people seek
5) Health care is important to us all. I believe taking this approach will solve nothing. We need to work together to find ways forward to ensure that local people get a service that is fit for purpose and find a way forward
• Edna Wright, Lib Dem; Hart.
1) No. I am 100 per cent against the closure. These services is imperative to the needs of the town.
2) No. Absolutely against proposed closure of the hospital. In Hartlepool we have a power station, chemical sites, and the heavy industry in town and in the event of a major catastrophe, Hartlepool needs to retain its own hospital.
3) No. I am totally against the proposed site at Wynyard. There is land adjacent to the present hospital site at Middle Warren which would continue to serve all Hartlepool and east Durham residents.
4) Yes. Certainly ward councillors can actively campaign for an urgent reversal of these ludicrous changes that led to the loss of A&E and other services, which should be returned to our hospital forthwith.
5) Yes. I would definitely support a vote of no confidence. Not only do I agree 100 per cent but I will propose this motion as a councillor on behalf of my constituents at the extraordinary meeting of the full council meeting regarding A&E.