MPs vow to fight ‘unacceptable drift of hospital services’ from Hartlepool

The University Hospital of Hartlepool
The University Hospital of Hartlepool

Hartlepool and East Durham MPs hope to highlight the ‘unacceptable’ drift of services’ away from the University Hospital of Hartlepool in Parliament.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill and fellow Labour Easington MP Grahame Morris, have submitted an Early Day Motion in an effort to secure a debate in the House of Commons on the issue.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by FRANK REID

The motion asks MPs to condemn any further cuts to health provision in Hartlepool and says full healthcare provision should be returned to Hartlepool hospital.

Mr Hill said: “Hartlepool Hospital remains fit for purpose and continues to provide vital services to the people of the town, East Durham and the surrounding area.

“In submitting this Early Day Motion myself and Grahame Morris MP are highlighting the fact that for far too long services have been allowed to drift away from the University Hospital of Hartlepool and that is unacceptable.”

Hartlepool hospital’s accident and emergency department closed in August 2011 on safety grounds.

Easington MP Grahame Morris.

Easington MP Grahame Morris.

Maternity services became midwife led in June 2008 after previously having consultants on site.

More recently, licensed fertility services, including IVF, were stopped at Hartlepool’s Assisted Reproduction Unit after the hospital trust said it could not recruit and keep enough embryologists and clinical commissioners said they could not find a suitable new provider.

Mr Hill added: “Of course it’s not all bad news, the Urgent Care Unit is performing well and even though it will never replace A&E it does show that given the will clinical services can be introduced or restored to the hospital.

“This EDM is a statement of intent that we will jointly campaign with the people of Hartlepool and East Durham to protect our hospital and fight to keep our vital NHS services going.”

The motion pays tribute to the staff at both Hartlepool hospital and North Tees in Stockton for dealing what Mr Hill and Mr Morris say is a ‘substandard situation’.

It claims North Tees now treats more than double its original workload of patients and says the decision to close Hartlepool’s A&E was done without the consent of the people of Hartlepool and East Durham.

The Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which secures and pays for local health services, says since the closure of Hartlepool’s A&E it has worked with partners to meet the needs of local people.

A CCG spokesman said: “Although the changes to A&E services in Hartlepool took place in 2011 before the creation of the CCG, we have continued to work with partners to ensure services are delivered in Hartlepool to meet the needs of the local population.

“We are actively engaged in the ‘Hartlepool Matters’ project, a local plan which has been developed jointly with the Local Authority, GPs and most importantly the people of Hartlepool. 

“The development of this plan has identified a number of health and social care priorities to support the provision of care across Hartlepool, giving prominence to community based services being delivered closer to home.

“Engaging with local people in the development of this plan resulted in the commissioning of a new urgent care service in April 2017, creating a 24/7 GP led Integrated Urgent Care Service delivered from the Hartlepool Hospital site.

“The service is delivered by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, North East Ambulance Service and Hartlepool and Stockton Health (GP Federation) bringing partners together to work in a collaborative way to meet local need, based on national best practice guidelines and listening to what local people wanted.

“This has improved access to urgent care services resulting in 98% of patients arriving at the new centre being treated within two hours in their local hospital.

“We believe this, alongside our other plans and ambitions for the coming years will make a real difference for the people of Hartlepool.”

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which runs both local hospitals, declined to comment.