HEALTH chiefs have been praised for continuing to invest in the University Hospital of Hartlepool after parts of the building were branded as like a “ghost town”.
The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s director of finance and information technology Lynne Hodgson revealed that work to centralise existing services in the main hub of the town hospital is expected to be complete by the end of July.
She told a meeting of the trust’s board of directors, held at the Hartlepool site: “We are looking to transfer a number of services across the Hartlepool site into the central building so it’s more a central hub across the central tower block of the Hartlepool site.
“Work should be complete by the end of July.”
The Mail reported last month that members of Hartlepool Borough Council’s audit and governance committee had raised concerns about the dramatic decline in the number of wards being used follows the move last October to transfer all emergency medical and critical care services to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.
Councillors praised staff and services still based in town, but expressed dismay at wards being left “obsolete”.
Ms Hodgson told the meeting: “We had a visit from the council’s audit and governance committee who wanted to look around the site because of concerns about services moving out to North Tees.
“It was a very positive visit and they recognise the plans we have moving forward in relation to bringing all the services into the hub of the site, we got some good feedback from that.”
Michael Bretherick, a trust non-executive director and former principal and chief executive of Hartlepool College of Further Education told the meeting: “It’s assurance that we have still got a focus on patients here, keeping investment going and keeping services of a high standard.”
Trust chairman Paul Garvin said: “We are continuing to keep patients at the forefront and invest where necessary.”
A report to the meeting says: “Design work has commenced on the rationalisation of the UHH (University Hospital of Hartlepool) estate following service transformation, centralising activity to the core of the estate and enabling peripheral buildings to be closed.”