Members of a new campaign group fighting for the return of hospital services to Hartlepool have expressed their concerns to health leaders.
The Fighting For Hartlepool Hospital (F4HH) group spoke to bosses from the Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) at a public meeting staged in Billingham Forum and liaised with other healthcare experts at another public event at Hartlepool’s Grand Hotel.
We are only a small group with one aim – to fight for our hospitalGlen Hughes, deputy chair of Fighting for Hartlepool Hospital
Both events were organised by the CCG to gauge opinion on its service plans for the next financial year.
The F4HH group has vowed to keep up pressure on health chiefs to perform a U-turn by restoring accident and emergency services to the University Hospital of Hartlepool, in Holdforth Road, after its closure in August 2011.
Deputy chairman Glen Hughes said the group has gained widespread support since setting up the Next Steps for Hartlepool Hospital page on Facebook.
He said: “We are only a small group with one aim – to fight for our hospital.
“We as a group are made up of like-minded individuals and our main aim is to work towards the return of services to the University Hospital of Hartlepool and repeal the privatisation of the NHS.
“We are trying to take a different stance on our fight, which will include liaising with MP Iain Wright as well as local councillors and the NHS Trust and CCG.
“Both meetings were extremely interesting, and while the message seemed to be pushing towards a base where community, preventative medicine, mental health issues and minor injuries can come together in one place, we stressed that the existing hospital site would be the ideal place for this facility.
“It could contain all of those facilities, and more.”
F4HH plans more meetings in the near future with Hartlepool Borough Council, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and other officials involved in decision-making on local healthcare.
Glen added: “We may all have different ideas or notions on what our town needs but in reality working as a team to resolve the issue is how we believe this can be rectified.
“We will work constructively and respectfully to push forward with our fight, and it was pleasing that we had the opportunity to express our views to the CCG team at the recent meetings.”
The group, which is also affiliated to the national anti-privatisation campaign 999 Call for the NHS, has extended an open invitation to any Hartlepool councillors and the public for support.
It is also working with other campaign groups across the country that are facing similar issues to Hartlepool.