Hartlepool 'won't even get the crumbs from the plate' of Boris Johnson's £1.85billion NHS pledge, claims MP

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has slammed Boris Johnson’s £1.85billion NHS funding pledge – claiming the town won’t even get ‘the crumbs from the plate’.

Thursday, 8th August 2019, 16:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th August 2019, 17:06 pm
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by FRANK REID

Twenty hospitals are set to share £850million of the cash to upgrade outdated facilities and equipment.

This comes on top of a £1billion boost to NHS spending which will see existing upgrade programmes to go ahead, tackling the most urgent infrastructure projects.

But Mr Hill said none of the hospitals are in the Tees Valley area – pointing out the funding is a fraction of the £350million a week Mr Johnson said the NHS could benefit from during the 2016 Brexit campaign.

The MP said: “After years of cut backs and forced efficiency measures placed on the NHS by the Government’s efficiency agenda, suddenly Boris finds a magic money tree.

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“The reality is that almost a decade of neglect and under-investment by the Tories has led to many hospitals being left in a state of disrepair and a backlog of maintenance of around £6 billion, so this pledge by the PM is welcome, but can only be considered a down payment on what will be the real cost of clearing the backlog of NHS maintenance and at £3.5million per week represents a fraction of the £350million per week he promised the NHS on his infamous Brexit battle bus during the 2016 referendum.”

He added efficiency savings have led to wide scale understaffing in the NHS which have contributed to the loss or downgrading of services such as Hartlepool hospital’s A&E.

Mr Hill said: “To add insult to injury not a single penny of the £850million on so called improvement projects will be going to any of our hospitals in the Tees Valley, despite the Tories believing they have a foothold here through the election of a Conservative Metro Mayor and the very obvious state of disrepair places like North Tees [hospital] are in.

“In a heavily industrialised region with all the public health issues we face we need strong, robust, accessible and fully functioning hospital services, and yet we don’t even get the crumbs off the plate.

“Mr Johnson says his aim is to tackle the injustices of NHS and social care, injustices created by his own party and compounded by a continued failure to tackle the effects of chronic underfunding both at Hartlepool hospital and at other hospital sites right across the Tees Valley.”

Announcing the funding, Boris Johnson said it will mean more beds, new wards, and extra life-saving equipment to ensure patients continue to receive world-class care.

“It’s time to face up to this challenge and make sure the NHS receives the funds it needs, to continue being the best healthcare service in the world,” he said.

The £1.85billion is in addition to the extra £33.9billion the NHS is set to receive every year by 2023/24.

Chancellor Sajid Javid said: “Thanks to the hard work of the British people, and the fundamental strength of our economy, we’re in a position to further increase funding for our NHS, ensuring quick access to quality healthcare for those who need it.”