New hospital ‘is answer to the problem’

TRUST chief Paul Garvin has pleaded for people to help pressure the government into approving plans for the new hospital.

The chairman of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said the proposed £300m site at Wynyard is the solution to their financial pressures.

The plan is to build it under a private finance initiative deal if the Department of Health backs the business case.

The scheme then has to be formally given a deed of safeguard from the Treasury.

Bosses are still waiting to hear from government but they say it is more cost-effective to run one hospital rather than try to maintain the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.

Paul Garvin, chairman of the trust, said: “My plea would be to work with the trust to keep the pressure on government to get that decision through for the new hospital.

“It is genuinely the solution to our problem.

“The nightmare position for me is if we don’t get the approval.”

Trust chief executive Alan Foster has previously told the Mail that should Wynyard collapse, then services at Hartlepool would be centralised at Stockton and Hartlepool would eventually close.

But Mr Garvin refused to go that far when quizzed by Conservative group leader Ray Wells at the health scrutiny meeting and said everything would be subject to consultation.

Mr Garvin said: “We don’t have the concrete plan and we will consult with you and the other scrutiny committees, but the likely situation is we will end up with predominantly one site to make efficiencies.”

Bosses also confirmed the trust paid about £5m plus VAT for the land, which can be sold back if it does not go ahead.

They hope to create a “health community” and attract private sector jobs through strategic partnerships.

There has already been interest from a Japanese firm that specialises in new health technology.