Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Hospital 'Desperately Needed' Teesside's Trusts Again Fail to Meet A&E Waiting Times

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Hospital 'Desperately Needed' Teesside's Trusts Again Fail to Meet A&E Waiting Times

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Brown Reporter

A WORLD-CLASS new hospital is "desperately needed," says the head of Stockton Council.

Senior councillors are calling for a new hospital after plans for a new super hospital in Wynyard were shelved in October last year.

Council Leader Bob Cook, and chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board Jim Beall, say a "deliverable plan with clear timescales" is "desperately needed" and have called on the North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust to provide one "as a matter of urgency".

Cllr Cook said: "It is obvious the Wynyard plan is dead, yet we are still to hear if there is any form of Plan B. It is unacceptable that we have had to endure such a prolonged period of uncertainty and indecision. We do not want to see a lowering of sights towards the refurbishment of the dated North Tees hospital while other parts of the country benefit from facilities designed and built to deliver state-of-the-art healthcare in the 21st century."

Cllr Jim Beall added: "Ours is an area with some of the worst health inequalities in the country, and the fear is that any further indecision will only see those inequalities widen."

The trust first announced proposals for a new hospital to replace its ageing sites in Stockton and Hartlepool in 2003, but the development, which has so far cost PS6.8m to plan, has been dogged by delays and controversy.

Trust chiefs announced a "pause" on planning for the development last October, blaming "a lack of support" from Government.

Chief operating officer and deputy chief executive Julie Gillon said the trust "shares the council's frustration" at the delays, but insisted it needed to meet the needs of its entire area - including Hartlepool and Sedgefield - which is why plans were for a new hospital in the centre of the patch.

She said: "Just because we have had a delay does not mean the world stands still. A&E services across the trust were centralised at North Tees in August 2011 and critical care, emergency medicine and complex surgery followed on two years later.

"Ideally, we would have been opening a new hospital in the centre of the patch last year and putting these services in the new facility. The pause on the work on the new hospital gives us a period of time to engage with our stakeholders and the public about the shape of hospital and community services for the future."

The trust has also had problems recruiting medical staff, which it believes a new hospital would have helped attract.

James Wharton, Conservative MP for Stockton South, backed the calls for a new hospital in the town. He said: "A new hospital would be great, that or a significant sum to bring what we have up to the best possible standards. I have repeatedly called on the trust to do this. …

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