Speculation is mounting around potential positive developments at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
Town MP Mike Hill took to social media this week to claim good news about maternity services and the re-opening of wards was ‘imminent’.
Mr Hill said on Facebook: “Earlier this month I said we should expect some good news around our hospital and an official announcement around maternity and the re-opening of wards is imminent.
“I have always promised to defend the right to be registered as being born in Hartlepool and to die here also.
“I believe that these basic principles must and will be upheld by our NHS trust as it begins to re-invest in services delivered from our hospital.”
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which operates the hospital, would not clarify the situation when questioned by the Mail about maternity and possible ward re-openings.
But it said it is working with partner organisations to ensure the ‘continuous development’ of care for the town.
A spokesperson for the trust said: “North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust remains committed to the health of the population of all those we serve across our region.
“We are currently working with partner organisations to ensure continuous development of health and social care for the population of Hartlepool. Hospital care is only one element of these ambitions.
“Our dedication is to encouraging a healthier tomorrow for all of our communities and we remain ambitious in our plans to do so.”
In October, the Mail reported how trust bosses wrote to Mr Hill to say they wished to make Hartlepool’s Midwife Led Unit (MLU) the ‘central hub’ for maternity services in the town.
Julie Gillon, chief executive of the hospital trust said then they were working to recruit more midwives after accepting some midwifery shortages had impacted on its ability to consistently deliver the service from the MLU.
It followed an alarming drop in the number of births at the hospital to just single figures prompting an investigation by Hartlepool Borough Council’s Audit and Governance Committee to try to encourage greater use of the midwife-led unit.