Wait for hospital funding goes on

A model of how the proposed Wynyard hospital might look.
A model of how the proposed Wynyard hospital might look.

HOSPITAL leaders hope to hear within weeks if they will be given £100m of public funding towards a new hospital at Wynyard.

The controversial project has experienced significant delays linked to securing the necessary funding, currently estimated at £280m.

Alan Foster, chief executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, recently travelled to London to meet with the Department of Health, the Treasury and regulators Monitor, to iron out various issues.

The NHS’ Estates Department is currently reviewing new design plans for the hospital to see if additional savings could be made.

The trust hopes the review will be completed by next week when Mr Foster is due to speak with the Director General for Finance and NHS, Richard Douglas.

Mr Foster said: “I’m hoping that by then the work the NHS Estates is doing will be complete.

“We have done everything we need to do.

“It leads the way forward for a recommendation from the Department of Health to put £100m of public capital in place for the scheme.

“That’s where we hope to get to in the nest few weeks.”

Neil Atkinson, the trust’s deputy director of finance admitted recent progress has been slow.

But he added the indications the trust had been getting from their regulator Monitor had been positive.

Mr Atkinson added: “Experts at the Department of Health look at the designs of all new hospitals nationally to make sure they are fit for purpose and see if we can learn from other trusts.

“We have reduced the size to see if we can make it a bit more cost effective but don’t want to compromise on clinical care.”

If the new hospital goes ahead it would see the eventual closure of both hospitals in Hartlepool and North Tees in Stockton.

The current target opening date for Wynyard is 2017.