WATCH: Big crowd for Hartlepool hospital meeting

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A HUGE queue formed outside Hartlepool’s Town Hall Theatre ahead of a meeting on the future of the town’s hospital.

Residents had been advised to get there early due to the expectation that there would be a big turn-out.

Bosses from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust, trust chief executive Alan Foster and chairman Paul Garvin, were set to do a 30-minute presentation with other staff from the organisation before the pubic could ask questions.

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The meeting got underway at 5pm with the 390 seats in the venue filled on a ‘first come first served’ basis after doors opened at 4.30pm.

With feelings running high over the hospital issue, Mr Foster and Mr Garvin were expecting a hostile reception.

Once the initial meeting is completed, councillors will take to the stage for an extraordinary meeting commencing at 7pm to continue the discussion and offer their opinions on whatever was said in the earlier presentation.

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, who has backed calls for services to be restored to the hospital in Holdforth Road rather than being merged at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton, has also pledged to be in attendance.

A meeting held at Hartlepool’s Central Library descended into farce last week when people were locked out of the venue as there were too many people who had turned up to voice their opinions.

The public outcry over the on-going hospital saga stepped up a gear last month when the health trust announced that plans for the new £300m facility at Wynyard were being shelved until after the general election after a series of hold-ups and wranglings over financing the project.

More than 9,000 residents have signed the Mail’s ‘Bring Them Back’ petition to urge the trust to restore services to Hartlepool’s hospital.

To add your name to the petition, click here.

Alternatively, call into our office in Wesley Square between 10am-2pm Monday-Friday to sign the petition in our reception.