CAMPAIGNERS demanded the return of hospital services in Hartlepool during a protest aimed at warning bosses “we aren’t going anywhere”.
Scores of campaigners pitched up outside of Hartlepool’s hospital ahead of a trust board meeting to let health chiefs know they will continue to fight for a return of services.
We decided to hold the protest outside of the hospital to let Foster and Garvin know that we are still here and that we aren’t going anywhere.Sandy Crowburn, member of The Town of Hartlepool Challenge Group
The Town of Hartlepool Challenge Group, which boasts 4,000 members, staged the picket ahead of a board meeting for bosses from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, in Holdforth Road.
Around 50 members of the group wore Save Our Hospital T-shirts, and waved banners and posters emblazoned with messages such as ‘Bring back our hospital services’, ‘We want our hospital back’ and ‘It is our right’.
It comes after the Mail gathered a petition containing 12,000 signatures created through the Mail’s Bring them Back’ campaign to ensure services - including the A&E department - return to the University Hospital of Hartlepool from the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton.
We launched the campaign after plans for a new £300m hospital at Wynyard were put on hold by the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust after being unable to secure £100m of Government funding.
A cross-party delegation travelled from the town to meet Mr Hunt and handed over the petition in London.
At the meeting Mr Hunt said he believed politicians in Hartlepool are in the “driving seat” over bringing back the town’s hospital services.
Town of Hartlepool Challenge Group member Sandy Crowburn was at the picket yesterday.
She said members of the group wanted trust chairman Paul Garvin, and chief executive Alan Foster, to know that the issue has not faded away but is still firmly at the forefront of the group’s agenda.
She said: “We decided to hold the protest outside of the hospital to let Foster and Garvin know that we are still here and that we aren’t going anywhere.
“We want our hospital and our accident and emergency department bringing back.
“We hope that by them seeing us stood here, then it will just keep this issue in their minds and to show them the strength of feeling about this issue that is just not going away.
“We aren’t going to stop until we get our services back.”
The protest was arranged last week after members heard about the meeting. Members started to turn up around 11.30am yesterday, arranging themselves at both the entrance and exits of the hospital, in Holdforth Road.
Mum-of-three Sandy, 42, of Dyke House, Hartlepool, added: “It was a really good turn out yesterday and just makes us all the more determined.”
The Town of Hartlepool Challenge group was set up on Facebook towards the end of last year, and now has around 4,000 members who are actively fighting to restore services from the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, back to Hartlepool.
The group, which arranged the rally at the town centre war memorial earlier this year, is also planning to stage a protest at the Houses of Parliament later this year to highlight their battle to get services returned.