Hartlepool MP demands assurances over future of Hartlepool hospital amid merger talks

Hartlepool’s MP is seeking assurances over the future of Hartlepool hospital amid talks of a possible merger.

Tuesday, 30th July 2019, 4:45 pm
The University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Health Chiefs are exploring the potential merger of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Hartlepool and North Tees hospitals, and South Tees NHS Foundation Trust which runs the area’s major trauma centre James Cook hospital in Middlesbrough.

South Tees trust chair Alan Downey told the Health Service Journal an idea to combine services has been part of talks held by senior managers.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has raised concerns for what it could mean for the University Hospital of Hartlepool, which has seen many changes including the loss of its A&E department.

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Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by Frank Reid.

He said: “There are rumours that a model is being developed around assessment, recovery and diagnostic services being based at North Tees and surgical, specialist and procedural work being carried out at James Cook.

“Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation the fact of the matter is that the direction of travel appears to be focussed on what North Tees and South Tees Hospitals have to offer.

“If that is the case then the people of Hartlepool and East Durham are not just a million miles away from the days when a new hospital at Wynyard was promised to them, but a trillion miles away from the prospects of services being developed at Hartlepool hospital.”

He added: “It’s no good having a so called ‘Super Trust’ if our hospital suffers as a consequence. I will be therefore raising this with Mr Garvin and the Chief Executive to seek guarantees from them about the future plan for services at Holdforth Road.”

North Tees trust Chairman Paul Garvin said they are working with three trusts – including County Durham and Darlington – plus NHS Improvement and the ICS (Integrated Care Systems partnership) on a range of possible options to give the best possible clinical outcomes for patients.

He said: “Patient safety remains at the centre of our priorities as an organisation.

“The board continues to hold responsibility for considering the likely impact on patient care arising from any structural change.

“It is far too early to speculate what the likely outcome of this work may be.”