Savings have to be made

LAWRENCE Rushmer (Mail, July 17) wants our MP, Iain Wright, to argue for all services to be restored to the University Hospital of Hartlepool but that simply isn’t a practical proposition.

The changes that have taken place to hospital services in Hartlepool are all part of a national NHS re-organisation, which has been designed to provide good quality care to patients at the right time and at the most appropriate place.

The new One Life centre, in Park Road, now provides a range of services in a town centre location.

For illnesses such as sore throats, coughs, blocked noses and other minor ailments which haven’t responded to treatment at home a nurse or a doctor can be consulted at the Minor Illness walk-in centre at One Life, which is open every day between 8am and 8pm.

Patients who need to see a GP after 6.30pm or at weekends should phone the out of hours service for advice (Tel 0300 123 1851).

Patients who have had an accident or injury but don’t need an ambulance should go to the Minor Injuries Unit at One Life.

But patients with a serious illness or injury should phone 999 for an ambulance without delay.

Many minor illnesses and injuries can, of course, be treated at home with advice and medicines provided by a local pharmacy.

Examples are colds, skin conditions, headaches, and minor cuts.

Creating centres of excellence for complex surgery, consultant-led maternity and specialist children’s services at the University Hospital of North Tees is just one part of the national NHS re-organisation which is ensuring that the highest quality treatment is available for the most serious cases at numerous regional locations.

That is why Hartlepool and East Durham patients who need world-class treatment have to be taken to North Tees or, in some cases, to other major hospitals such as the James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, or the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle.

Similar arrangements are being put in place all over the country at a time when huge, but unavoidable, cost savings have to be made.

Jim Allan,