A&E vote of no confidence proposed

Coun Edna Wright pictured outside the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
Coun Edna Wright pictured outside the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

A COUNCILLOR will propose a motion for a vote of “no confidence” in health chiefs over the closure of the A&E department at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Hartlepool Borough Council member Edna Wright has registered the motion which will be heard during an extraordinary meeting of the local authority next week.

It follows a spate of incidents highlighted in the Mail after the closure of A&E on August 2 which was replaced with urgent care services at the One Life medical centre in Park Road.

But Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond has branded the motion “ridiculous” and says he doubts it would have any influence on decision-making over the health issues in the town.

Coun Wright says the motion is designed for councillors to “put their cards on the table” and show how they feel about the future of healthcare in Hartlepool.

The motion states: “The A&E services are imperative to the needs of the residents of Hartlepool and the east Durham area. From day one it appears that the One Life centre minor injuries unit is no substitute for the accident and emergency services that were provided at the University Hospital of Hartlepool”.

It also claims the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, is seeing “exorbitant waiting times” and “clinics being cancelled” due to an influx in the number of trauma patients from Hartlepool.

Coun Wright, who last month vowed to quit as a councillor if Hartlepool loses its hospital, hopes the vote will show exactly where local councillors stand on the issue of keeping health services in the town.

She said: “The councillors are all saying they want the very best for Hartlepool. I want them to prove it now.It’s time for them to put their cards on the table.” Trust chiefs and representatives from NHS Hartlepool are expected to attend the meeting, which will take place in council chambers at the Civic Centre at 7pm on Thursday, September 8.

The motion has been signed by Coun Wright, fellow Liberal Democrat representative and town party leader Arthur Preece and Independent councillors John Marshall, Lillian Sutheran, Steve Gibbon and Mike Turner,

But it was dismissed by Mayor Draummond who yesterday revealed he was “100 per cent convinced” a new hospital would be built in Wynyard , which would see the closure of the town’s facility altogether.

Mayor Drummond said: “Quite frankly it’s ridiculous - what’s that going to achieve?

“The way the governance is set up of the NHS, there is no direct accountability to the council or to the public.

“If you look at the individuals on the trust, they are all from Hartlepool or Stockton and they and they all have a vested interest in making this work.”

Independent councillor Geoff Lilley, who is vice-chairman of the Save Our Hospital group, said: “I will be supporting the motion 100 per cent.

“It’s incumbent of Hartlepool Borough Council to show the likes of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley that the public support generally-speaking isn’t there.”

Save Our Hospital group chairman Keith Fisher urged residents to attend the meeting and see how their councillors voted.

He said: “The trust is acting against the wishes of the people.”

A trust spokeswoman said: “Our priority is to provide safe and high quality care for our patients and we will continue to do this.”