ONCE upon a time we had a top star rated hospital in Holdforth Road which served well our townsfolk and our friends in south-east Durham.

Along came a financially failing and decrepit hospital in another town, which became a very damaging hole in our pocket in the same way as did Cleveland County Council.

No-one (but no-one) can tell me who had the Hartlepool and North Tees NHS Foundation Trust dream but I do know that it quickly became a nightmare to our own University Hospital of Hartlepool.

I have always been determined not to criticise our friends in Stockton but the reality is they have done nothing but gain, gain, and better gain from this unwanted merger.

And their gains have always been to the detriment of our hospital by way of its services, its fine key staff and us humble patients.

We have huffed and puffed, we have protested, we have marched, we have overfilled the Hartlepool Borough Council chamber and then the 
College of Further Education.

We have even got our council to unanimously agree a vote of no confidence in the chief executive, the chairman, and the whole trust board and yet we are still ignored.

You will notice that I haven’t yet mentioned the fact that we presented a petition with more than 30,000 local signatures to Save Our Hospital and surely that still represents the 
vast majority of public opinion?

I recognise that some people were swayed by the flowery promises of a state-of-the-art, single en-suite rooms, etc.

But my reply to that had always been “location, location, location”.

That stance is now bolstered by the fact that “the art” is now not even “the state” that was promised.

The good ship Wynyard Hospital is not even on the stocks, not one sod is turned, not one penny is raised.

But we – you – are asked to applaud the fact that one solitary builder is prepared to build to the trust’s plans which have taken a designer panic dive from £400m to £300m.

If you were desperate to buy something/anything and didn’t even have the money anyway, would you ever settle for a choice of one?

Sadly, indeed disgracefully, what is happening is just that.

But at a massive scale and with the money that you don’t have.

In the meantime, of all of this sight-lowering, beggar bowl-waving and builder-applauding we would still have to survive years of no A&E, disappearing services and waking up in another town.

Their applause should be drowned by your protest – now.

Keith Fisher,

Formby Close,