North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s board has today announced it has decided to pause the development work on the new hospital.
While the trust is unanimously committed to developing a new hospital to meet the future healthcare needs of the people of Hartlepool, Stockton, Easington and Sedgefield, the board feels the complexities of the approval process are such that without high-level political support it appears to be unable to get a decision before the end of this parliament.
Chief executive Alan Foster said: “The new hospital is a fundamental part of our integrated health and social care strategy for the 21st century. When the momentum: pathways to healthcare programme was launched it was one of the three strategic aims of the programme, and it still is.
“However a general election is now looming and the board recognises that any new government is likely to wish to review all new developments in the light of its own priorities. As a result, there will inevitably be further delay in the completion of a new hospital. The board has therefore decided to pause the development work on the new hospital.
“I, along with the board of directors, believe it is wise at this time, to ensure that delay does not compromise the major advances that have been made to date, in the quality and efficiency of local services. We will therefore engage with our staff and the public to seek views on how to deliver more care closer to home where possible and secure further investment in community based services, while continuing to centralise services where necessary to maintain and improve the safety and quality of hospital-based provision.”
The board will keep this position under active review in the light of national developments and will continue to work closely with local NHS commissioners and with its partners in local government to improve the integration and quality of care for local people.