Crucial future healthcare needs of people across the Tees Valley continue to be overlooked by the Tory-led Coalition, Alex Cunningham has said, and this will result in health inequalities widening even further across the region while putting increasing pressures on health services.
The Stockton North MP was speaking after learning that the Board of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust decided today to pause development work on the proposed new hospital at Wynyard.
Despite also having support from Labour MPs in Hartlepool and Sedgefield, as well as further afield in Middlesbrough and Easington, the Board felt that the complexities of the approval process have been intensified by the lack of high-level political support from the Government. With a final decision appearing unlikely before the end of this parliament, the decision was therefore taken to pause any further development work.
“It is an outrage that, after seven years of planning and reviews, the proposals for the new hospital are no nearer to gaining the final approval that will deliver a world class facility to the region and help to tackle health inequalities.
“I am sick and tired of the Government playing politics with the health of the people in our communities, and I understand that local Trust now feels they can do nothing more to prove their case.
“That the independent regulator Monitor has told both the Treasury and the Department of Health that they have done everything possible to scrutinise the proposal and believe it is the right package for health care in the North Tees and Hartlepool Trust area, demonstrates that this is about politics and nothing to do with securing the best health facilities both at hospital and within the community
“It speaks volumes that decisions have been approved elsewhere that will see larger and more expensive facilities delivered in the southern constituencies of Tory and LibDem MPs and in places where the governing parties hope to curry favour. But no-one on the Government side is speaking up for our people who suffer from some of the worse health inequalities in the country and continue to lose out.
“It is time for the Government to admit it has no intention of approving the new hospital so the Board and people of our area will know where they stand.
“I can now only look forward to the next government when I am sure the new hospital and related facilities will be approved by Andy Burnham when he returns to the Department of Health after the general election.”
Alex has, with support from other Teesside MPs, today applied for an adjournment debate in the House of Commons when they hope the Treasury will account for their failure to approve the scheme.