Hospital campaigner disappointed as BBC Panorama bosses drop interviews about Hartlepool A&E closure

Keith Fisher
Keith Fisher

A HOSPITAL campaigner has expressed his disappointment after BBC bosses confirmed interviews filmed about the closure of Hartlepool’s A&E will not feature on Panorama next week.

Councillor Keith Fisher is also angry that the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Charlie Hall, 67, will not be investigated on the episode titled A Week in A&E: Condition Critical, which will air on BBC1 next Monday night.

Charlie and Doreen Hall

Charlie and Doreen Hall

Coun Fisher, an independent councillor on the Hart ward and Save our Hospital campaigner, was delighted to be able to put his points across when he filmed an interview at Belle Vue Social Club, in Kendal Road, for the Panorama programme.

He also put the show’s bosses in touch with Doreen Hall, the heartbroken widow of Charlie, who died after suffering a heart attack in the car park at the University Hospital of Hartlepool before he was taken by ambulance at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, for treatment - where he died after five days in a coma.

The programme will look in depth at life at the University Hospital of North Tees where presenter Vivian White filmed for a week.

But Coun Fisher, who has campaigned tirelessly against the closure of the A&E ward at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, received an email this week from Panorama letting him know that the interview with him and three other members of the Save our Hospital campaign will not be shown on next week’s episode. The producer Esella Hawkey told him: “As you know, the programme is about the overall pressures upon A&E, and we had several different points to include as well as the closure of Hartlepool. For instance, targets, social care and staff issues.

“It was important for us to give time to these issues too.

“I am aware this may be a disappointment to you all.”

Coun Fisher added: “I am disappointed.

“This isn’t about me being disappointed that I’m not going to be on the television, anything but. We gave up our time to do the interviews with them but it obviously didn’t fit into the piece.”

Doreen Hall, 60, who lives in Kirkland Hill, Peterlee, also told the Mail yesterday she had received a phone call to let her know the interviews she filmed for the episode have not made the final cut.

Her husband had been for a routine CT scan when he took ill in December, last year, and Doreen was told after his death that he was suffering with heart disease and pneumonia.

Doreen knew Charlie was suffering with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but says her husband was never diagnosed with pneumonia or heart disease while he was alive despite having an x-ray, an MRI scan, a chest x-ray, a full body bone scan and getting bloods taken in the weeks leading up to his death.