HARTLEPOOL Borough councillors have lodged a formal complaint with the Secretary of State about the actions of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust (Mail, January 3).
This is because many people in Hartlepool and East Durham are disappointed that important hospital services have been transferred from the University Hospital of Hartlepool to the University Hospital of North Tees.
It would obviously be preferable, if it were possible, for a general hospital with an A&E ward to be located in Hartlepool.
I for one would be delighted if that could be arranged, providing that the necessary standards of safety and quality could be ensured.
Unfortunately that is not the case.
The senior doctors and nurses who run the trust’s A&E department, along with critical care and emergency medicine, have confirmed that all those services have to be centralised at North Tees if the highest possible standards of care are to be provided.
Coun Brash said that the formal complaint has been lodged with Mr Hunt because he and all the other Hartlepool councillors consider that the trust is failing to do its job properly.
I believe that the Secretary of State will note that many people in the Hartlepool area are demanding that services be returned to the local hospital, but that he will also take into account the fact that senior clinicians and nurses have confirmed that it simply isn’t possible to provide safe and high quality services at both North Tees and Hartlepool.
Mr Hunt will, I believe, confirm that the actions taken by the trust are in the best interests of the patients.
Editor’s note: Mr Hunt has subsequently responded to the council’s letter.
He states: “I have noted the concerns you have raised on behalf of the council and I appreciate that the configuration of health services in Hartlepool communities to be an issue of great concern.
“The trust’s decision to ‘pause’ work on the scheme (to build a new hospital at Wynyard) was taken by the trust alone.
“The Department remains in contact with the trust, and has written to it to explain the further financial analysis necessary to progress the approval decision.
“I appreciate that this further delay, to a scheme that has already been several years in development, has caused some to question the potential outcome of the scheme.
“I do not consider a meeting with me at this time would be helpful. Whilst I appreciate that this may be a disappointing reply, I hope it clarifies our position on the matter.”