'Furious' Labour Hartlepool by-election candidate hits back at 'hospital hypocrite' claims

Labour's candidate in the Hartlepool by-election has been accused of being a "hospital hypocrite" for his involvement in a report supporting the removal of critical care services from the town.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 6:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 11:56 am

A senior Conservative has hit out at Labour's Dr Paul Williams who is campaigning to bring more health services back to Hartlepool, for his role eight years ago in cuts at the town’s University Hospital.

Dr Williams was one of four GPs involved in a 2013 report which explained and took to public consultation recommendations to remove services, including critical care, from Hartlepool Hospital.

These recommendations were later fully adopted.

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Dr Paul Williams, Labour candidate for Hartlepool, during a tour of Hartlepool College of Further Education on April 19.
Dr Paul Williams, Labour candidate for Hartlepool, during a tour of Hartlepool College of Further Education on April 19.

Speaking following the “hospital hypocrite” claims, Dr Williams said the 2013 move was the "only safe decision" for Hartlepool patients due to "Conservative funding cuts".

Yet Tory co-chair Amanda Milling MP said: "Despite everything he has said during this campaign, Dr Williams is a hospital hypocrite.

“He was responsible for a report that recommended moving services out of the University Hospital of Hartlepool – and they were.

"These were services best delivered locally and which local people desperately wanted to stay in their local hospital.

Conservative co-chairman Amanda Milling, pictured during a visit to the Headland recently, has labelled Dr Williams a "hospital hypocrite".

"He then has the nerve to bring Labour front benchers up to Hartlepool complaining about a lack of hip replacements when he was responsible for stopping them in the first place."

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The full list of candidates in the 2021 Hartlepool by-election

Last week Dr Williams invited the shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, to Hartlepool, who commented on the lack of hip operations in the town.

Dr Williams said he was "furious" about the Conservative comments and added: "The Tories cut funding to the NHS and at the time I was trying to get the best possible deal for my patients.

"It was the only decision because of Tory funding cuts to the NHS, the only safe decision for Hartlepool patients, but we'll get those services back.

"I've got a track record of bringing services back to Hartlepool hospital.

"I actually led all of the town's GPs in the fightback, we worked together with the hospital at a time when there was no doctor even covering Hartlepool 24 hours, we opened the urgent care centre, I worked the first shift there and I'm continuing to work shifts there during this election campaign."

The Northern Independence Party and Reform UK have also criticised Dr Williams over the 2013 recommendations.

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