Hartlepool hospital campaigners promise to keep on fighting

Determined hospital campaigners pledged to keep up the pressure in the battle to bring services back to Hartlepool.

Members of the Save Our Hospital and Town of Hartlepool Challenge groups made their presence felt to hospital bosses by protesting outside of the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, yesterday.

Save Our Hartlepool Hospital protestors outside University Hospital North Tees, Hardwick Road, Stockton, on Thursday morning.

Save Our Hartlepool Hospital protestors outside University Hospital North Tees, Hardwick Road, Stockton, on Thursday morning.

The demonstration was held to coincide with the latest meeting of the board of the hospital trust.

It was the latest in a long line of demonstrations by members of the public angry at the removal of various services from the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Demonstrators’ spokesman Stan Cronin said Hartlepool had been left without vital services and the ‘pipedream’ of a new replacement £300 million hospital at Wynyard has collapsed.

Mr Cronin said: “We want our hospital back and we want our A&E and all the services back in Hartlepool.

“We will keep protesting. Today is about making a visual impact to people and the board.”

The demonstrators held up a large Save Our Hospital banner at the exit of the North Tees site and handed out flyers and spoke to hospital visitors. Mr Cronin added: “The demonstration went well.

“People were stopping and talking to us and a lot of drivers pipped their horns in support.”

The campaigners are also planning to take their demands to London in a future demonstration on a date still to be arranged.

The Mail gathered a 12,000 signature petition through our Bring them Back campaign after the hospital trust shelved plans for Wynyard last October.

And earlier this month we revealed that the trust now intends to sell the land back to its original owner.

Following a meeting between Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and a cross party delegation of councillors and town MP Iain Wright, it was agreed to set up a new Local Health Plan working group to improve services.

It involves working with the local clinical commissioning group which pays for hospital services.

The Save Our Hospital group’s objectives are the reinstatement of all health services which have been taken out of the University Hospital of Hartlepool, including A&E; get a commitment to the long term future of the Hartlepool site, and support an end to privatisation and cuts within the NHS.

The Town of Hartlepool Challenge group on Facebook, which was initially set up to campaign or Hartlepool hospital, has more than 3,300 members.

The demonstrators were joined yesterday by members of the national anti-privatisation community campaign group the People’s NHS.

Group member Steve Nesbitt, an engineer who had travelled to the North East from Lincolnshire, said: “The privatisation monster is growing and before we know it we could lose our NHS as we know it.

“We don’t want private companies taking it over and running it for profit.

“We don’t think it is morally or ethically correct.”

The group are due to hold a demonstration against privatisation in the NHS outside the One Life Hartlepool medical centre on Tuesday from 11am.