Tees

Hartlepool fertility services: Councillor condemns trust

University Hospital of Hartlepool Image copyright Google
Image caption The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said it was unable to recruit enough staff for the fertility service

A councillor has condemned a health trust's plan to scrap fertility services, branding it "nonsensical".

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust planned to end licensed fertility treatment, including IVF, at University Hospital Hartlepool on 31 March.

But the council won a High court injunction, claiming the trust had not properly consulted on the move.

Councillor Ray Martin-Wells said problems in recruiting enough embryologists was a "lie all along".

The trust cited an "inability to recruit embryologists" to keep services going safely as the reason for the planned closure.

But Hartlepool Borough Council claimed health bosses acted too quickly, failed to properly consult with the public and could have done more to attract trained staff.

'Vital service'

Mr Martin-Wells said: "The hospital trust has finally admitted that it has no desire to continue running the service.

"If the trust had come clean six months ago it would have prevented the need for High Court action and prevented the hospital trust and council wasting around £60,000 in legal costs - time and money that could have been spent on finding another provider to deliver this vital service.

"I condemn their actions in the strongest possible terms."

During a three-month public consultation, three options were put forward by the NHS Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group.

An NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group spokesman, said: "We acknowledge the concerns raised by the local council in relation to the findings of the independent clinical review team.

"This information will be considered alongside all other responses received during the consultation period to enable the CCG's governing body to make an informed decision."

About 250 IVF cycles are provided each year at the hospital.

The final decision is expected on Tuesday.

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