Positive meeting over future of new hospital

Health managers in the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust have been encouraged to draw up plans to finance a new hospital at Wynyard to replace the North Tees and Hartlepool University hospitals.

Health Minister Simon Burns met the four Labour MPs for Stockton North, Hartlepool, Easington and Sedgefield and the Chairman of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, this afternoon. He said that it was a matter for the local Foundation Trust to bring forward a new proposal for the hospital and promised support from his officials to help guide them.

Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North, said there was still much to work for:

“The Minister appeared to accept the clinician-led strategy to deliver health care was the right one but said affordability is an issue for the Government. He said the Department would play its part in helping develop future solutions.”

Iain Wright, MP for Hartlepool, said:

“I have supported the new hospital plan as clinicians have made it clear it is the only way to deliver the health care and patient safety which our people are entitled to. It is clear that the Foundation Trust would struggle to maintain a full range of services both at Hartlepool and Stockton and if there is to be one hospital, I favour a new one at Wynyard.”

Grahame Morris, MP for Easington, said:

“The Minister made it clear that he wants to see health care determined locally to best meet the needs of the population. We believe that has been done and we now need to find an alternative financial package that is acceptable to the new administration.”

Phil Wilson, MP for Sedgefield, emphasised to the Minister that the hospital would also provide a catalyst for major development and thousands of jobs, many of them in health related industries:

“We stress to the Minister that it is about much more than health care. The new hospital would not only provide world-class facilities for our people but would offer an opportunity for immense regeneration in the area.”