Residents urged to have their say on future of the health service

Dr Boleslaw Posmyk
Dr Boleslaw Posmyk

Residents in Hartlepool and County Durham are being asked their views about the way forward for health services.

The NHS Better Health programme is holding a series of 17 public engagement events across Durham, Teesside and Darlington, to talk to patients and the public about how health services could be provided in the future.

Hartlepool College of Further Education will host one of the meetings on Thursday, 26 May, at 5pm and the following day, Friday, May 27, there will be one at Seaham Town Hall, also starting at 5pm.

On Saturday, May 21, starting at 1pm, there will be a meeting at Bowburn Community Association in Durham and on Tuesday, May 31, at 5pm, there will be a meeting at Shotton Hall in Peterlee.

The Better Health programme is looking at how hospitals will achieve the standards which people have a right to expect from their services, and how the NHS meets its aspirations to provide more care in the home and in community based settings.

The Better Health programme is being led by clinicians including senior hospital consultants and GPs from the clinical commissioning groups and three foundation trusts operating across County Durham, Darlington and Tees.

Dr Boleslaw Posmyk, Hartlepool GP and lead clinician for Better Health said: "As we get older, more of us will have one or more long-term health conditions – like diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, the effects of stroke or other illnesses.

“As more of us are living to an older age, more of us will have one or more long-term health conditions – like diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, or the ongoing effects of illnesses like stroke.

“In the past, much of the care offered by the NHS was in hospital. Caring for long term conditions needs a different approach, with more community based support and services provided by the NHS and partners.

“We want to talk to local people about how we achieve this.”

Mr Derek Cruickshank, consultant in gynaecological cancers and Better Health lead for hospital services said: “In the past, most hospitals could offer people the best treatment available at the time for most conditions. Clinical practice has taken great strides forward in the last four decades, and this is no longer the case."

As part of Better Health, clinicians are looking at how care could be provided in the future, and want to discuss this with patients and the public. The meetings in May will be followed by more engagement over the summer months, with consultation expected to start in the autumn.

Details of the 17 events are available at or those interested can email