Mayor ‘disappointed’ with response over Wynyard hospital plan

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MAYOR Stuart Drummond said he is “disappointed” with the Government’s response to calls for clarity on plans for a new hospital at Wynyard.

In response to the Mayor’s letter, the Department of Health said officials are still considering the outline business case (OBC) for the £300m site.

Meanwhile, there is still an ongoing major review of using private sector funding for major developments, known as private finance initiative (PFI).

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Mayor Drummond wrote the letter with Dr Boleslaw Posmyk, who will chair Hartlepool’s GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG).

In 2013, primary care trusts will be replaced by CCGs as part of a phased transformation.

Dr Posmyk met with Mayor Drummond before Christmas to discuss the future of commissioning services in Hartlepool and it was agreed to write to the Department of Health for clarification on the future hospital plans.

Since the letter was sent, the Trust has revealed the Wynyard plans have been hit with a further delay after it emerged that a decision on government backing is not expected until July at the earliest.

Simon Burns, minister of state for health, replied to the letter at the start of February to outline the position.

He wrote: “I can report that my officials are working closely with North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust on the major issues which have needed addressing in the OBC.

“As with all such capital investment schemes of this size, subject to the Department’s approval, it will then also need HM Treasury’s approval to proceed.

“We have been considering the OBC for some time, but the key here is, as you rightly recognise, the challenges faced by the present Government in funding major investment projects in the current economic climate.”

Mr Burns added: “The trust is aware that it will need to consider its PFI proposals for compliance against the broad criteria and aims of this review.

“Again, I can assure you my officials will provide the necessary advice and support required to the trust.

“However, I cannot indicate a date by which decisions regarding the OBC will be made.”

Mayor Drummond said: “One of the concerns we both shared was the future of the hospital and the uncertainty surrounding it.

“It makes it very difficult to plan the commissioning of services in the future, from both the council and CCG perspective.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get the certainty or assurances that we were after.

“We are no further forward.

“It is disappointing.

“For everybody’s benefit we need to know what the future is for the hospital.”