MP calls into question Hartlepool hospital's future after revelation on town births

Town MP Mike Hill has written to the boss of Hartlepool hospital expressing his concerns for its future after it was revealed mums can no longer give birth there.

Thursday, 25th July 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th July 2019, 1:44 pm
Mums to be can currently not give birth at the University Hospital of Hartlepool. Photo Katie Collins/PA Wire

The Mail reported on Saturday how the birthing centre at the University Hospital of Hartlepool is not being used to deliver babies after the number of births fell so low it was deemed unsustainable.

Now Mr Hill, who previously called the development ‘outrageous’ has written to the chief executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.

He accuses the trust of going back on pledges to improve maternity services in Hartlepool and says the development calls into question the credibility of assurances by the trust around the hospital’s future.

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The University Hospital of Hartlepool.

In the letter to Julie Gillon, Mr Hill writes: “From the special interest shown by the council you know how important it is for the people of Hartlepool to have the right to have their children born and registered as such in the town, and yet you have actively undermined that by ensuring all mothers are passported to Stockton on a routine basis.

“The loss of A&E and the controversy that entailed thereafter should have raised a red flag with the Trust about treating the people of Hartlepool with respect when it comes to health services delivered from the hospital.

“I cannot emphasise enough how the Trust has let my constituents down. Yet again, you have taken away their dignity by depriving their offspring of having the right to be registered as being born here.

“At a time when you are pledging that new wards are opening at Holdforth Road this doesn’t help.

Julie Gillon, Chief Executive of Hartlepool and North Tees NHS Foundation Trust.

“To be frank the announcement from the Trust over the Birthing Unit will lay to one side any credibility you have to say over the future of the hospital, and to that extent I am both angry and frustrated because it was my genuine belief that service erosion was in reverse and the future of the hospital is being secured.”

A spokesperson for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are working with colleagues at Hartlepool Borough Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group with the continuation of our maternity hub at our University Hospital Hartlepool site.

“Further collaborative work will help us to deliver an aspirant population health strategy for the people of Hartlepool.

“We are dedicated to providing a service that eradicates health inequalities for our region as a whole, and patient safety, as always, remains a priority.”

Pre-natal and post-natal care is still provided from the Holdforth Road site and women can also give birth at home in the town.