Anger over clinic moves

Barry Chambers outside the University Hospital of Hartlepool
Barry Chambers outside the University Hospital of Hartlepool

A CAMPAIGNER says plans to move outpatient clinics from the University Hospital of Hartlepool show “contempt for East Durham residents”.

But health chiefs say plans are underway to bring similar services to venues in East Durham.

Blackhall Labour Party chairman Barry Chambers has hit out at news that health bosses in Hartlepool plan to move nine services, including the ear, nose and throat clinic and core physiotherapy and diabetes clinics to One Life Hartlepool, in Park Road.

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Bosses said last week that the move was part of the momentum: pathways to healthcare programme to deliver care closer to people’s homes.

But Mr Chambers, 69, a former National Union of Mineworkers secretary, who was married to the late Anne, said: “They said there were moving care closer to the people, which just shows how much contempt they are treating the people of South-East Durham with.

“That hospital is ours as much as the people of Hartlepool.

“They say they are moving it nearer to the people – but to which people?

“It just shows how they have forgotten about us – they are not moving it close to us, they are moving it further away.”

He claimed that East Durham residents have never been consulted about the plans, or about the closure of A&E, which NHS Hartlepool bosses deny.

The grandfather-of-five, who was an Easington district councillor in the 1970s, of Princess Close, Blackhall, added that East Durham residents now face extra upheaval and increased traffic to get to One Life, in the centre of Hartlepool.

The dad to Ronnie Chambers, 47, and Karen Firth, 46, added that he had voiced his concerns at numerous meetings in Hartlepool, but said he had never heard of any consultation meetings being held in East Durham.

An NHS Hartlepool spokeswoman said: “The people of County Durham were included in the initial momentum: pathways to healthcare programme consultation and the health overview and scrutiny committee have been kept informed and involved throughout the process.

“The momentum: pathways to healthcare programme is about keeping people healthy and intervening early with care and treatment to avoid the need for people to go into hospital and managing care closer to home wherever possible.

“While the proposals are to provide some out patient services from One Life, there are similar plans to deliver services in East Durham.”