A bid has been entered to replace the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, with a new hospital. Bosses at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust claim the site, which was built in the 1960s, is costing millions to maintain in its current state.
Staff speak of the impact of the disrepair the hospital has fallen into. A major leak developed recently on Ward 26, meaning no patients could be moved in or out. Staff were drafted in to help the clean up, and repairs took time due to the age of the pipework.
In addition to this incident, just a few weeks ago there was a breakdown in the heating system which resulted in staff and patients resorting to blankets to keep warm.
It is issues like this, at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton, that has prompted the trust to describe it as being in a state of "disrepair" and why it has submitted the first stage of a bid for a brand new development.
The hospital, which was originally called North Tees General, opened in September 1968.
Over the decades, healthcare moved on and in the early part of this century, plans were put forward for a 'super hospital' to replace sites at both Stockton and Hartlepool. That scheme was scrapped by the coalition government in 2010 on the grounds of cost.
Since then, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust says it has ploughed millions of pounds into keeping existing facilities up and running.
A particular concern is the scarcity of single rooms at the hospital, which the trust says led to problems during the pandemic. Staff on respiratory wards say they had to place patients in bays of four beds, allowing the virus to spread. Now, work is underway on a new respiratory ward with far more individual rooms for patients to isolate.
In July, the Government opened a nationwide selection process for eight new hospitals. North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is among the organisations to submit their interest. A more detailed bid will be required for those trusts selected, later this year, to go forward to the second stage. Final decisions are expected in the spring of next year.
If the bid for a new hospital at North Tees is rejected, the trust says it would need to embark on a seven year programme of repairs. For now, it is channelling its efforts into securing a brand new facility.