No plans to reopen A&E

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HOSPITAL bosses have moved to quash rumours that an axed accident and emergency service is being reinstated.

Bosses at the University Hospital of Hartlepool say there are no plans to re-launch accident and emergency at the town site and they are looking into alternative uses for the area that used to house the service.

It comes after the Hartlepool Mail was contacted by readers who had heard the service was reopening.

The walk-in accident and emergency service at the University Hospital of Hartlepool was closed on August 2 in a shake up of services as part of the Momentum: Pathways to Healthcare programme.

Health services in Hartlepool now see the majority of people treated at the £20m One Life Hartlepool for minor injuries, while some are taken by ambulance to the Holdforth Road hospital and serious accident cases are dealt with at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.

Bosses say the current set-up of services is working well and there are no plans to make changes.

A spokesman for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation, which runs the hospitals in Hartlepool and Stockton, said: “The accident and emergency department is not being reopened.

“The new arrangements for urgent and emergency care in Hartlepool are working well.

“We are currently looking at options for what the space could be used for.”

It comes after councillors on Hartlepool Borough Council unanimously backed a motion of no confidence in the board of the hospital trust and council chairman Carl Richardson wrote to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley informing him of the move.

The Mail contacted Mr Lansley’s department to see what powers he has to step in after the local authority’s move condemning trust chief executive Alan Foster, chairman Paul Garvin and the rest of the board following the closure of the A&E department at the Holdforth Road hospital on August 2.

But a spokesman for the Department of Health would only say: “This is a local matter and we have made clear that any service changes must be locally led and consulted on.”

The change came after the A&E department was declared unfit for purpose by an independent review by health professionals, academics and local councillors.