THE leader of Hartlepool Borough Council today said that while many people would be “disappointed” with the news that plans for a new hospital at Wynyard could be shelved, there are still hopes that some health services will return to the town in the future.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed that land earmarked for the development will now be sold back to Wynyard Park Limited after the trust was unable to secure the necessary funding to build it.
Over the coming months, hopefully by the autumn, we will have a new health plan for Hartlepool in place.Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher
Wynyard was chosen from a shortlist of 10 locations in June 2008, but the scheme was among 12 scrapped by the Government two years later.
One of the main issues surrounding health services in Hartlepool is the A&E department which was moved from the University Hospital of Hartlepool to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, in 2011.
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of the town council, said: “It’s disappointing for some people who wanted Wynyard hospital to be progressed but, as a council, we have already put within our local plan measures to protect the Hartlepool hospital site.
“The Clinical Commissioning Group are quite willing to work with us as a council on the return of services so, I think, a lot of people will be quite happy with that.
“We have already had discussions with the CCG and we have a meeting on May 26 with them.”
He added: “At that meeting, we will be looking at developing services from the hospital site.”
Trust bosses say that discussions – which have been going on since the start of the General Election, in which Labour MP Iain Wright successfully defended his Hartlepool constituency seat – will continue over what services will be offered from the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
Coun Akers-Belcher added: “Over the coming months, hopefully by the autumn, we will have a new health plan for Hartlepool in place.
“The caveat of that is that we want services delivered from the existing hospital site.”