LETTER: Listening to the public on Hartlepool hospital

The University Hospital of Hartlepool
The University Hospital of Hartlepool

IAIN Wright intends to tell Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, that “hospital services cannot and should not be centralised at North Tees”.

Also that: “the notion that all hospital services in our area can be placed at North Tees is not acceptable.”

He will also say that: “the provision of health services can only be done with the wishes of local communities.”

That would mean that making changes to the way hospital services are delivered requires the prior approval of the local communities.

Iain also said that he will ask Mr Hunt what he will do to ensure that the North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust listens to the concerns of the town?

The trust is responsible to the Secretary of State for ensuring that it delivers safe and effective clinical services.

It follows that the board, advised by senior clinicians, has to organise the trust’s resources so that the best possible care is delivered to patients.

If the board members are only allowed to make changes which had previously been approved by the local communities, presumably after a referendum, that would mean that the board could not be blamed if standards of care then deteriorated.

It would be able to say that the deterioration had occurred following changes that had been implemented in accordance with the clearly expressed wishes of the local community, in spite of the alternative recommendations made by the board.

An important question would then arise.

Who would be held responsible for the deterioration in standards following the re-organisation?

The answer is simple.

The board members would be blamed, and rightly so, because they had been aware that the changes would be detrimental to safety and clinical standards but they implemented them anyway, against their better judgment, because that was what the communities were demanding.

Finally, Iain said that board members must “listen to the concerns of the town” even though they have been doing that for years at numerous public consultations and other meetings.

However, having listened, they disagreed with what the objectors were saying so Iain said they aren’t listening.

Jim Allan,