Alex Cunningham MP was in the Chamber of the House of Commons this afternoon to hear the Chief Secretary to the Treasury announce the coalition Government is scrapping plans for the new North Tees and Hartlepool Hospital. Following the announcement Alex said:
“We heard from David Cameron during the election campaign that the North East stood to suffer most from the spending cuts and today his Government has fulfilled that promise by axing the hospital planned to serve our communities. Time and again the Prime Minister said the NHS would be protected by the Conservatives but that was clearly far from the truth.
“Yet again the North East has proved an easy target for a Tory Government this time aided and abetted by their Liberal Democrat colleagues.
“We have seen tremendous progress in addressing health inequalities in our area over the last 13 years and the new hospital, with the latest in technologies and facilities would have helped close the gap even further.
“The hospital plans were approved not just by the Department of Health and the Treasury but by Monitor, the health regulator and were considered excellent value for money. The North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust have worked and planned for five years for the hospital and now face difficult choices over the future of the two hospitals. There must be a huge question mark over whether or not they can sustain two hospitals and maintain the level of services our local people have come to expect. We have seen the axe wielded but without any indication of how health services will be supported in our area.
“I believe we need a wide ranging campaign to put pressure on the new Government to change this decision and give our doctors and nurses the kind of facilities in which they can deliver world class health care.”
Alex has this afternoon contacted The Speaker of the House of Commons to request a specific debate on the decision.
“When I and other colleagues questioned the decision in the Commons this afternoon, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury replied with sympathetic noises and financial gobbledegook. We need to hold him and the government to account and get full and proper answers to the questions we have about the decision.”