Talks due over potential site of new hospital serving Hartlepool

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Talks are to take place within weeks over the potential location of a new hospital serving Hartlepool.

Lord Ben Houchen, the re-elected Conservative Tees Valley Mayor, was responding to claims that the current University Hospital of Hartlepool premises should be the preferred location.

While he insists the current site of the crumbling University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, is ideal for his plans, he accepts a new build there is “looking extremely unlikely” and that the public should decide on the eventual choice.

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The case for Hartlepool has been made in a letter to Lord Houchen by Glen Hughes, of Fighting 4 Hartlepool Hospital, and the Labour parliamentary candidate for Hartlepool, Councillor Jonathan Brash.

Councillor Jonathan Brash and Glen Hughes outside the University Hospital of Hartlepool.Councillor Jonathan Brash and Glen Hughes outside the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
Councillor Jonathan Brash and Glen Hughes outside the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Mr Hughes said: “Holdforth Road has the services, the land and the infrastructure already in place and, crucially, it is already owned by the NHS Trust.”

The pair outline several reasons why the site is right, including adequate land availability, robust existing infrastructure and accessibility via the new Elwick bypass.

Cllr Brash said: “There’s been a lot of speculation as to whether Mayor Houchen can deliver on his pledge.

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"But if there is to be a new hospital then Holdforth Road ticks all the boxes.

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“It would ensure balanced hospital provision across the region. It’s a no brainer – build it here.”

They also state, if a new hospital ended up outside of Hartlepool that “balanced investment across the region” must be made “that guarantees Hartlepool gets its fair share and the return of critical services like A&E”.

In response, Lord Houchen said he would “work with anyone” to deliver a new hospital but said the location should be decided via extensive consultation with the public while discussions with health trust bosses were also necessary.

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“Over the coming weeks I have numerous meetings to try and move things forward,” he said.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’ll take time to get it right.”

He said the aim is to get spades in the ground before the end of his third term as mayor.

He admitted he had no control over health services but said he previously made good on other pledges and building a new hospital “doesn’t seem to me to be that difficult”.

Any final decision rests with local health system planners in collaboration with NHS England.