Hospital bosses’ offer to let new fertility provider use Hartlepool site

University Hospital of Hartlepool.
University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Fertility services could stay at Hartlepool hospital with a different provider, NHS chiefs have said.

Local health commissioners, which award and pay for services, say North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has given a commitment another provider could continue to use the University Hartlepool of Hartlepool if that is the outcome of a review of the Assisted Reproduction Unit.

We have already sought advice from the trust for allowing another provider onto the site should that be the recommendation that is proposed and it has agreed to that

Karen Hawkins, Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group

The hospital trust has informed Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) it can not sustain the service which provides treatments including IVF.

A six-week consultation exercise which puts forward three options for the unit’s future, has attracted around 1,500 responses.

Karen Hawkins, associate director of commissioning and delivery, gave an update on the consultation at a meeting of Hartlepool council’s Audit and Governance Committee yesterday.

She said: “We have already sought advice from the trust for allowing another provider onto the site should that be the recommendation that is proposed and it has agreed to that.”

The consultation questionnaire came in for criticism from the North East Empowerment and Diversity (NEED) group which has proposed a fourth option of the trust continuing the services at Hartlepool hospital.

Gordon Goddard said the survey is biased towards moving it out of town and claimed members of the public do not think they will be listened to.

“People don’t want any more change. They have had so much over the last 15 years,” he said.

Ms Hawkins said the questionnaire had been devised after engaging with the Healthwatch Hartlepool group and added the CCG cannot force the trust to provide the fertility contract.

She said: “It is up to the CCG to then go to other providers to ensure that the same service provision and pathways are provided within the same time scales that are set nationally.”

Councillor Ray Martin-Wells, chair of the committee, said: “Speaking personally, I’m not bothered who does the service as long as it remains in Hartlepool and it stays the same staff to the same extremely high standard that has been recognised not only in this country but Europe-wide.”

The three options in the consultation, which closes on July 15, are for both licensed and unlicensed fertility services to stay in Hartlepool with a different provider; for some lesser services to stay in town; or for everything to be provided outside of Hartlepool.