A grandmother has praised the quality of care she received while in Hartlepool hospital and is supporting calls to safeguard it.
Susan Dawson, 68, spent three days at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, while having a right knee replacement.
She hailed everything from the treatment she received from staff to the hospital’s cleanliness and food.
And Mrs Dawson, of Seaton Carew, has backed calls for the site to be more widely used by hospital managers after numerous services have been centralised at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton.
Mrs Dawson, a mother of four who is married to part-time bus driver Ken Dawson, 77, said: “We can’t complain; from the nurses, surgeons, even the porters and cleaners, they were all fantastic.
“We couldn’t see any fault in it at all. I had no complaints about the food and everywhere was impeccably clean.
“Some of the staff have been there 25 to 30 years.”
Mrs Dawson, a retired tailoress and keen walker, had the operation after suffering with arthritis in her right knee. There have been growing calls by campaigners, MP Iain Wright and councillors for hospital leaders to return services to the Hartlepool site.
It followed the collapse of a planned new hospital at Wynyard and the threatened loss of Hartlepool’s Assisted Reproduction Unit.
Mrs Dawson said of Hartlepool hospital: “It was very quiet, it seems such a shame and such a waste of a big place. I think it shouldn’t close.
“My husband was in North Tees a few years ago. I had to get a bus and stayed with family and relations.
“If you don’t drive the buses stop at 6pm.”
Hartlepool Borough Council says it is exploring “all legal avenues” to return services.
A working group led by an independent chair, has held a series of public involvement events to develop a Hartlepool Local Health and Social Care Plan.
It’s purpose is to provide integrated health and social care services across the town, including the University Hospital of Hartlepool site.