'It's the perfect opportunity' - calls to build £380m super hospital in Hartlepool
Health campaigners are calling for a proposed new £380 million hospital to be built in Hartlepool.
A leading member of campaign group Fighting 4 Hartlepool Hospital and a councillor are urging hospital chiefs to consider upgrading the existing University Hospital of Hartlepool and build new services on the surrounding land.
It comes after North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust bosses lodged a request for a new £380m hospital through the Government’s Health Infrastructure Fund.
Chief executive Julie Gillon said there was an “urgent need” for a new hospital due to a crumbling University of North Tees, in Stockton, which has treated more Hartlepool patients following the closure of A&E in 2011 and the transfer of other services.
Glen Hughes, of Fighting 4 Hartlepool Hospital, said: “Hartlepool [hospital] sits on a lot of land, is a newer building and has easy transport links to the A19.
"Why go to the length of buying another piece of land to build a hospital on?
"It’s the perfect opportunity to beat our drum and for the people of Hartlepool to say we want to be considered for this.”
He added the hospital is also a lifeline for East Durham residents.
Independent Hartlepool councillor Rob Cook, who represents Hart ward, agrees, adding: “What is wrong with Hartlepool hospital? Nothing that a couple of million can’t do to upgrade the existing part of it.
"So why not use it and build on the surrounding vacant land and make it a super hospital that will have every service available to the whole of Tees Valley and the surrounding colliery’s area.
"I am asking all fellow councillors including our MP Jill Mortimer and the people of Hartlepool to join together and fight tooth and nail to bring the proposed £380m hospital to our great town of Hartlepool.”
Mrs Mortimer said: “Following ongoing discussions with Julie Gillon, head of the North Tees and Hartlepool trust, and myself, I was very pleased to give my written support, within the trust’s bid for a new hospital.
"I will continue to fight hard to see hospital services return to Hartlepool as I promised and this bid forms part of that fight.”
The trust has been approached for comment.
Plans for a new £460m hospital at Wynyard to replace the two existing sites were shelved in 2014.