Council chiefs say they will explore “all avenues” to return services to Hartlepool hospital.
Hartlepool Borough Council is preparing for a High Court hearing on April 5 to try to prevent North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust ending licensed fertility services at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
And senior councillors say they may look to alternative providers to run hospital services in town.
It comes after the hospital trust’s chief executive Alan Foster and chairman Paul Garvin failed to attend three meetings to explain the reasons for the planned fertility closure.
Councillor Ray Martin-Wells, chair of the council’s Audit & Governance Committee, said: “Given that the hospital trust executive is not prepared to enter into dialogue, the time has come to explore all legal avenues to see services returned to Hartlepool.
“This could include seeking alternative providers to run our hospital in Hartlepool.
“Residents should have a choice where they access hospital services from and we are prepared to look at all models for the delivery of hospital services.”
Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher said NHS England’s Five Year Plan sets out options for the running of smaller general hospitals without centralisation including Multi-speciality Community Providers
He said: “We’ve carried out a series of consultation exercises and there is overwhelming support for hospital services to be provided locally whenever possible; just like they used to be.”
Dr Mohamed Menabawey, a former senior consultant in Hartlepool is offering his advice and support.
He said: “North Tees Hospital is an out-dated hospital and there is simply no logic in centralising services there. It must be stopped.”