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Stockton North MP says paused work is an 'outrage'

The Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, has said pausing development work on the proposed new hospital at Wynyard will lead to health inequalities widening even further across the region while putting increasing pressures on health services.

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.

– Alex Cunningham MP

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.

Stockton South MP welcomes plans to pause new hospital work

The Conservative MP for Stockton South, James Wharton, has welcomed the decision by the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust to suspend work on its plans to close North Tees and Hartlepool hospitals for a new hospital at Wynyard.

  • 76% Opposed the plans
  • 8% Said there were unsure/did not know
  • 16% Supported the plans

2,673 replies were received.

The Trust has not convinced the public to support these plans and without public support such significant reconfigurations cannot be carried through. People have told me in overwhelming numbers that they do not want this scheme and many will welcome the decision to suspend work.

Scrapping the Wynyard Hospital plan was one of the first things the new government did but the idea lived on. This process has taken years and costs a fortune. The Treasury has been clear that more information would be needed before any money could be approved and the Trust has now decided it cannot provide it.

This is a suspension rather than cancellation but the Trust now needs to turn its attention to North Tees and the investment it needs. I was born in North Tees Hospital and I understand what it means to our community. We need to invest in it and upgrade facilities to provide top quality care. The Trust should immediately start planning to use some of the hundreds of millions it had earmarked for Wynyard on North Tees so that local people get the care they deserve.

– James Wharton MP

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Trust stop work because of 'looming' general election

The chief executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has said the pause of development is due to the "looming" general election.

The new hospital is a fundamental part of our integrated health and social care strategy for the 21st 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.

– Chief executive Alan Foster

Trust puts ‘pause’ on its work on new hospital

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s board has today announced it has decided to pause the development work on the new hospital.

The trust board has today released a statement, saying:

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 appearsto be unable to get a decision before the end of this parliament.

– North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s board

20 North East historic sites added to 'at risk' register

Twenty historic sites across the North East have been added to an 'at risk' register due to their condition.

English Heritage publishes an annual report which identifies listed buildings and historic sites most at risk of loss or decay.

Since last year, 27 sites have been removed from the list after investments of £768,000 in the region.

In the North East:

  • 8 buildings or structures have been taken off the Register and 5 have been added.
  • 4 churches and places of worship have been taken off the Register and 9 have been added.
  • 14 archaeological sites have been removed from the Register and 3 have been added.
  • 1 conservation area, Spittal in Berwick upon Tweed, has been removed from the Register this year, 3 conservation areas including Alnwick, Northumberland and Chester-le-Street, County Durham have been added.
St James Church, Benwell Credit: English Heritage
  • The 13th century Church of St Andrew Winston on the banks of the River Tees has been added to the list this year. There are several structural issues in the building and the roof needs repairing. The congregation has agreed a repair project. The work is underway with financial help from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and is due to be completed by 2015.
Hamsterley Hall,Hamsterley Mill,Rowlands Gill,County Durham. Credit: English Heritage
  • Hamsterley Hall has suffered from decades of decline leaving the property with an estimated repair bill of £4m. The hall was already on the Heritage At Risk register but is now classified at the highest level of risk.
Coquet Island, Northumberland Credit: English Heritage
  • Coquet Island is one of a number of remote islands off the Northumberland coast. The remains of a monastic cell and a medieval tower have been removed from the Heritage at Risk register this year after a repair project and grant of £93,000 from English Heritage.
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