Council chief faces vote question

A CAMPAIGNER will demand answers from civic chiefs over a vote of no confidence in hospital trust bosses at a meeting tonight.

Keith Fisher, chair of the Save Our Hospital group, wants to know what has happened since the full council unanimously backed a motion of no confidence in the chief executive, chairman and board of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.

The campaigner is keen to know exactly what has happened since that vote at the end of September and is set to ask a question to civic chiefs at a full council meeting tonight.

Mr Fisher’s question will be put the following question to chairman of the council, Labour councillor Carl Richardson as follows: “Please explain in specific details how effective has been the full council’s unanimously carried Vote of No Confidence in the chief executive, the chairman and the board of our hospital trust.”

Public questions have to be submitted several days before a meeting of the full council.

Mr Fisher said: “I would like to highlight that no-one seems to know what effect the vote of no confidence has had.

“In the Mail after the meeting, Coun Richardson demanded that the A&E reopens and we need to know how far down the road that has gone.

“I honestly do not know, and we need to know.

“It is a simple and polite question, and if progress has been made then fine.

“But if not, then why not?”

Mr Fisher called on residents to turn up at the meeting to hear what is said.

At the September meeting of the full council, members from all parties joined forces to condemn Alan Foster, chief executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, chairman Paul Garvin and the rest of the board following the closure of the A&E department at the town’s hospital in August.

The motion slammed a “total failure” to effectively consult and communicate with residents about health changes which has led to patients instead being treated at One Life Hartlepool, in Park Road, or the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.

There is also expected to be a question to the council about the issue of using private finance initiative (PFI) funding for the new £300m hospital at Wynyard, which will replace hospitals in Hartlepool and Stockton if the government backs the proposals.

PFI was introduced under the John Major Government in 1992 and widely used by Labour to obtain private money to fund major projects in the public sector.

But the scheme has come under criticism over costs, with taxpayers facing escalating bills over PFI contracts which usually last for decades.

The trust is not expected to get an answer from the Government before Christmas.

The full council meeting is set to take place tonight at 7pm, in the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.