Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP
Secretary of State for Health
Department of Health
2nd February 2015
Dear Secretary of State,
I am writing to you regarding the issue of hospital services in Hartlepool, which you will already be aware of the strength of local feeling about.
The Labour Government brushed aside Lord Darzi’s 2005 recommendation to improve existing services at Hartlepool Hospital in favour of closing that facility and building a new £400m ‘super hospital’ at Wynyard, which relied heavily on taxpayer subsidy. This cavalier attitude to spending other peoples’ money inevitably hit the rocks when the economy went into recession, but undeterred, then Health Secretary Andy Burnham continued to make financial commitments that he was unable to fulfil.
This has left the people of Hartlepool and nearby villages lacking vital services whilst the future of their hospital is left in a state of limbo. I joined local residents in calling for the reinstatement of these services at a highly attended ‘Save our Hospital’ march on 10th January, alongside my mother who also works at a hospital in the North East.
I fundamentally believe that services such as A&E Departments require a high level of accessibility and should therefore be located in population centres such as Hartlepool. Locating them out of town or in other urban areas puts peoples’ lives at risk and I fully support the call to return them to Hartlepool.
Meanwhile, the Labour Shadow Health Secretary continues to irresponsibly gamble with peoples’ health by pledging already over-committed quantities of taxpayers’ money to reviving the Wynyard experiment.
Local people have understandably lost confidence in both the Labour Party and the Foundation Trust to adequately resolve this issue. Whilst I recognise the important devolution of responsibility to local Trusts it is essential that they are held to account for poor decision making, and the Department of Health has a role to play in this.
I understand that this matter has been raised with you by Hartlepool Borough Council and by Iain Wright MP, and I would support their request for a meeting with you regarding the matter. I would also ask that you note my own support for the restoration of key services in the town and that you keep me informed of any progress.
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate