Health service debate roadshows planned

RESIDENTS will be able to take part in “full and frank” debates with health bosses when a series of roadshows are launched later this year.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s health scrutiny committee is looking to organise three roadshows to give people the chance to find out more about changes to health services in town.

It comes on the back of the controversial closure of the accident and emergency department at the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the opening of One Life Hartlepool, in Park Road.

Representatives from the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Hartlepool and GPs will be invited to take part in the sessions.

Councillors from the health scrutiny forum are also expected to attend.

Residents will also be able to find out more about proposals for the new £300m hospital at Wynyard, which is planned to replace hospitals in Hartlepool and Stockton.

Hospital bosses are looking to fund it through a private finance initiative (PFI) deal and the roadshows will give residents the chance to find out more about the funding behind the scheme.

Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, who chairs the health scrutiny forum, said: “We want to create a forum where people can have a full and frank discussion about the changes to health services in Hartlepool; that is the aim.

“This is a chance for people to learn more about the full picture of health services in Hartlepool.

“The details are still being worked through but we hope to start each roadshow with a short presentation and then we will move into cluster groups before returning to the full group for a feedback session.

“This is a really good opportunity for people to come forward and discuss the issues.”

The health scrutiny forum has put forward terms of reference for the roadshows;

• To consider the future of healthcare service delivery in Hartlepool as a result of national policy;

• To gain an understanding of the financial context for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust;

• To explore the recruitment and retention of staff at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust;

• To examine the transition plans towards the ‘new’ Hospital and how these plans will shape future delivery of services.

The details are still being finalised, but the roadshows will be held in locations in the north, central and south areas of town.

One roadshow will be in the morning, one in the afternoon and one at night.

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “We are looking to start the roadshows towards the back end of November.

“We have to make sure that we get the timing right and the meetings are not too close to Christmas.

“The forum wants to engage with as many people as possible.”

Details of where and when the roadshows will be held will be released closer to the time.