Expert decision

COUNCILLOR Geoff Lilley says people should let Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, know what they think about having a new hospital at Wynyard (Mail, February 2).

He says that the hospital trust’s decision to go ahead with the Wynyard hospital is not in line with Lansley’s statement that “decisions must be taken with patients, close to patients and with clinical leadership at the fore”.

But this matter has been the subject of discussions and public consultations for over eight years and the final decision has been made because the clinicians say that a new hospital at Wynyard is the only way to provide top-class care for patients.

Surely that is putting ‘’clinical leadership at the fore’’ of the decision-making process?

Geoff then said that people do not want a hospital at Wynyard “in an inaccessible location” and they do not want to “burden our grandchildren with PFI debt”.

But Wynyard is only a few miles from Hartlepool and is easily reached by car, taxi or bus.

And £22m a year to pay off the loan is less than £1 a year, 2p a week, for each of the 27m households in Britain. Hardly a heavy burden for future generations.

Finally he says “the best option for the majority of people is to keep the existing set-up and invest in upgrading the facilities”.

But that isn’t the best option for patients, according to the eminent physicians who visited the town twice, examined the hospital trust’s proposals in great detail and agreed that the highest standards of medical care can only be provided if a new, advanced hospital is located at Wynyard.

The choice is clearly between getting top-class care a few miles away at Wynyard or less good care in our local hospital.

Do people accept the advice of the physicians or do they believe that the Save Our Hospital campaigners know best and are right to reject the decision that the experts have made?

Jim Allan,