The need for a new hospital to serve the people of Stockton and the surrounding area is critical if the health inequalities across the area are to be addressed effectively, MP Alex Cunningham told the Commons this afternoon.
The Stockton North Labour MP, used a debate on health equalities to outline both the issues facing Stockton and the North East as well as some of the excellent work done locally and regionally to address them.
But he reminded the government that they cancelled the new hospital for Stockton in 2010 – and the need for it has never been greater.
In Stockton Borough, there is a life expectancy gap of 17 years between men in the most deprived ward compared with a man in the least deprived. This gap shortens to just over 12 years between women. Alex also raised key indicators of health inequality in Stockton such as 72% of children in the most deprived areas having decayed, missing, or filled teeth.
Alex then went on to champion Stockton Borough for taking initiatives to reduce this gap, including their Seasonal Health and Wellbeing Strategy which coordinates a series of programmes such as winter warmth assessments to ensure that vulnerable people have their homes prepared for the winter months.
Alex also raised concerns over the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for the Tees and Durham area which suggests there could be a downgrade of the hospital including the loss of the accident and emergency department at North Tees. He said part of the STP plan should be to instead replace North Tees with a 21st century hospital.
After the debate Alex said:
“We live in an area where life expectancy can vary as much as 17 years across the Stockton Borough and we have amongst the greatest challenges from tobacco and alcohol, so we need the best facilities and health professionals to tackle it.
“I know the proposed location of a new hospital was controversial – but that doesn’t take away the need for one. I am determined that I will continue to demand the best for the people I represent and that means fighting for a 21st century hospital for them as well as the Public Health resources needed.”