The appointment of a new hospital chief is a fresh opportunity to make the town’s voice heard over protecting Hartlepool’s hospital, says MP Mike Hill.
Mr Hill welcomed the announcement of Julie Gillon as chief executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, who replaces Alan Foster.
The MP said the University Hospital of Hartlepool is still a ‘vibrant facility’ providing over 50 services, and said talk of it being empty is ‘dangerous and downright disrespectful’ to the hard working staff there.
Mr Hill said: “I very much welcome Julie to the role of chief executive.
“She is a former nurse who has made her way up through the ranks, which makes her more than qualified to be at the helm.
“Her predecessor Alan Foster had huge ambitions, particularly around the building of a state of the art hospital at Wynyard, which would have delivered exceptional personal care for patients as well as attracting top flight pharmaceutical industries to the site, but it was a project wrecked immediately by the incoming Tory Government and wasn’t to be, and the fall out has been the steady erosion of services from Hartlepool hospital.
“The loss of A&E was a bitter blow to the town, but the introduction of an Urgent Care Unit and the fact that over 50 services continue to be provided at the hospital shows that it is still a vibrant facility and well worth fighting for.
“It is therefore both dangerous and downright disrespectful to the hard working staff at Hartlepool for the myth to be perpetuated that there are no hospital facilities at Holdforth Road.”
A list of services provided from the hospital obtained by Mr Hill include elective in patient and day case surgery, a 30-bed rehabilitation unit, breast screening, elderly care day unit, midwife led unit and 18 different outpatient services.
Mr Hill added: “Julie Gillon presents us with a fresh opportunity to make our voice heard and that can only be a good thing.
“She knows how important our hospital is to our community, I’ve pressed that message home to her time and time again, and as a former nurse she should appreciate the feelings of grass roots staff as well as patients, who to a tee have always said to me that Hartlepool hospital is and will always be their preference.”
Ms Gillon joined the trust in 2002. She recently held the title of chief operating officer/deputy chief executive, and had been interim chief executive over the last year.
She said the trust is committed to improving the trust’s Care Quality Commission rating from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’.
She said: “I am looking forward to continuing the work I have been leading on over the last 12 months.”