£25m hospital upgrade bid is a snub for Hartlepool - leader

Christopher Akers-Belcher.
Christopher Akers-Belcher.

A civic leader has described plans by hospital bosses to seek £25million from the Government to upgrade their Stockton site as a “snub” to Hartlepool.

The North Tees and Hospital NHS Foundation Trust says the money is needed to ensure the University Hospital of North Tees is fit for purpose for the next 20 years.

We need a hospital that is fit for purpose and fit for the future

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Alan Foster

Trust chief executive Alan Foster said the money was needed to upgrade its infrastructure and electrical systems to cope with an increase in demand on its services.

The move follows the collapse of the £300million Wynyard hospital, and the trust will prepare a business case for the Department of Health.

But Hartlepool Borough Council leader, Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, says the trust should invest in Hartlepool hospital and will write to the Secretary of State expressing the authority’s frustration.

Coun Akers-Belcher, said: “We have a perfectly good hospital in Hartlepool with vacant wards and plenty of spare capacity, so I do not understand the logic of investing in North Tees.

“The council will continue to do everything it can to bring services back to Hartlepool, including A&E, because that’s what the people of Hartlepool want. People do not want to travel and for those without a car it can take two buses to get there, which is just not acceptable.

“This latest announcement is a further snub to the people of Hartlepool and we’ll be writing to the Secretary State of State for Health to express our bitter frustration and to once again press the case for a fair deal for the people of Hartlepool.

“We have already started the process to develop a Health and Social Care Plan for Hartlepool with the Clinical Commissioning Group, which aims to give local people a choice over where they access hospital services and Hartlepool residents will get the opportunity to help shape this plan.”

Mr Foster said: “The money is urgently needed because we need a hospital that is fit for purpose and fit for the future.”