MP calls for 'clear statement' over hospital services

Darlington's MP is demanding answers over the future of services Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

The MP for Darlington is calling for a 'clear statement' over the future of hospital services at the town's main hospital.

Labour's Jenny Chapman says rumours have been circulating for some time over the future of accident and emergency, intensive care and maternity services at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

She told ITV Tyne Tees that speculation had gone on for 'far too long' and is now calling for clarification.

Jenny Chapman MP Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

"What we need is a clear statement from Commissioners and from the Trust about what their intentions are, because it is unacceptable to leave patients, the wider community and particularly staff in this position where their jobs may be at risk, and where Darlington may be seeing a serious downgrade of services at our hospital."

– Jenny Chapman, Darlington MP

In response, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust sent us the following statement.

“As an NHS organisation we cannot stand still - advances in medical science, technology and the specialist skills of NHS professionals have made huge contributions to improved survival rates, outcomes and quality of life over the past few decades. If we want to be able to continue driving improvements and delivering high quality, sustainable services which meet the needs and expectations of our patients now and into the future against a backdrop of pressures in recruiting specialist staff, delivering quality and access standards and within financial constraints then we need to consider ways in which care and services could be delivered differently.

Senior consultants from the Trust are working with colleagues from across all the hospitals in Durham, Darlington and Teesside together with GPs on a programme of work which is about how we can improve outcomes and experience for patients when they need care, especially in an emergency.

This programme of work is called The Better Health programme and is aimed at identifying how we could improve clinical outcomes for the populations that we all serve.

However, no decisions have been made and importantly the next stage of engagement work with public, patients and staff has just begun allowing everyone to have their say. The series of engagement events will feed into a formal public consultation later in the year.”

– County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust