Hospitals will not be ‘run down’

The University Hospital of Hartlepool
The University Hospital of Hartlepool

HEALTH trust bosses have assured that two hospitals set to be replaced by a new one at Wynyard are not being “run down” and say investment is ongoing at the existing sites.

The University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, are set to be replaced by a new £300m facility at Wynyard under the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s Momentum: Pathways to Healthcare programme.

During a meeting of the trust’s board of directors, held at the Stockton-based hospital last week, the trust’s chairman Paul Garvin issued an assurance that money continues to be ploughed into the Hartlepool and North Tees hospitals.

It comes after campaigners, including Hartlepool councillor Keith Dawkins, who highlighted a catalogue of “shortfalls in care” after a week-long stay at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, said the hospital was “being run down so it isn’t fit for purpose like the A&E”.

Kevin Oxley, the trust’s commercial director, gave an update on ongoing spending on equipment and facilities at the two hospitals.

He said: “We are continuing to invest in current facilities.”

Mr Oxley said work had been completed on an additional endoscopy room at the Hartlepool hospital, as well as a major refurbishment of the medical rehabilitation day unit at North Tees.

He added that a new cafe had also opened at the University Hospital of North Tees and a tendering exercise is taking place for an upgrade to facilities at the site’s Harness block so that more single rooms can be created to help fight infections, which he said had been a “challenge for our nurses”.

Mr Oxley said: “We will be here for another four years so it’s important we have these facilities available to us.”

He added that money had also been spent on a second CT scanner at the University Hospital of North Tees.

“The capital programme is progressing as planned and we continue to monitor that until it is successfully concluded,” said Mr Oxley.

Rita Taylor, a non-executive director with the trust, said: “I note the investment in both hospitals and that’s great, but can you assure me that where we are investing in heavy equipment like the scanner, that that kind of equipment will go with us to the new hospital?”

Mr Oxley replied: “Yes it will.

“The lifespan of the CT scanner is seven years.”

Mr Garvin said: “It’s pleasing to see ongoing investment.

“While we don’t want to squander money, we equally don’t want to run the two hospitals down.
“We have got the right balance there.

“All that work is being carried out within the budget and to plan.”

A report to the meeting says the 2012/13 capital programme progressed as anticipated with an expenditure of £4.8m committed with a further £1.7m of approved schemes being currently developed.