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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.

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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

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

HRH Duke of Kent to visit Stockton

The Duke of Kent Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent, will visit Stockton today to open the recently restored Victorian kitchen garden at Preston Park Museum and Grounds.

He will unveil a plaque to mark the opening of the walled garden, which has been brought back to life by Stockton Council and volunteers. He will also name one of two boats recently purchased by Tees Rowing Club (TRC) with funding from Stockton Council and sports lottery money.

The other boat has recently been named after Penny and Derek Copeland – parents of London 2012 Olympic gold medallist and TRC member, Kat Copeland.

His Royal Highness will meet and congratulate Mr and Mrs Copeland during his visit. He will also meet rowers from Yarm School, where Kat Copeland began her rowing career.

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Cancer treatment unit on Teesside to close

It has been announced that a cancer treatment unit on Teesside will close by November 2014.

The inpatient haematology unit at Stockton's North Tees Hospital sees about 20 patients a week with a variety of blood diseases.

NHS bosses say they'll have to close the unit after failing to train enough senior doctors.

£6m funding for 'ticking time bomb', adult social care

More than 10,000 socially isolated older people in Middlesbrough and Stockton are to benefit from £5,998,248 funding from the Big Lottery.

Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind received the fund, which will be used to lead a partnership of voluntary, statutory and private sector organisations to help up to 10,500 older people.

Outreach workers will team up with organisations such as community police and libraries to identify socially isolated people.

The organisation also wants to encourage a more diverse range of activities for older people with plans including target shooting, walking, football and ukulele playing.

Emma Howitt, chief executive of Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind, said: "We won't be providing services in the traditional sense - we will be working alongside older people to give them the opportunity to organise their own networks providing friendship and mutual support."

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund England chairman, said: "There are concerns about a ticking time bomb facing adult social care, but older people have a wealth of experience and skills to offer their communities. We need to tap into this - to help them help themselves and others living alone."

The partnership will target its work in 11 wards: Gresham, University, Park, Clairville, Beechwood, Ladgate, Kader, Hemlington, Coulby Newham, Pallister and Beckfield.

Pictures: Window shot out in Stockton

A house in Stockton was damaged by a firearm late last night. Police are appealing for information after the incident on Kensington Road.

Police at the scene in Stockton Credit: Terry Blackburn
Damage caused by a firearm Credit: Terry Blackburn
Police activity on Kensington Road Credit: Terry Blackburn
The incident took place at 10.30pm on August 31st Credit: Terry Blackburn
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