Tees

Hartlepool hospital's urgent care services to return

Hartlepool's University Hospital
Image caption Urgent care services are to return to Hartlepool's University Hospital, although it will still be without A&E

Some urgent care services are to return to a hospital that lost its accident and emergency unit five years ago.

Residents with serious injuries have had to travel to Stockton after Hartlepool University Hospital A&E closed in 2011.

The local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) confirmed it is looking for a provider to run the hospital service.

But some campaigners believe it is not enough and have called for the return of the full A&E department.

Urgent care centres treat patients whose condition does not require A&E treatment but cannot wait for a GP appointment.

It treats problems such as sprains, broken bones and infections.

'Nothing will change'

Hartlepool's £20m One Life centre has provided such services since the closure over staff shortages and plans for a so-called super hospital in Stockton. The proposals were later shelved.

Hartlepool councillor Ray Martin-Wells said: "We want to see Hartlepool's hospital back to where it was. It was a five-star hospital giving a five-star service and people never wanted to lose that.

"We want to have as many services back as possible."

Hartlepool and Stockton CCG, which decides how the local health budget is spent, said it had reviewed urgent care services and proposals to integrate them.

Glen Hughes, of the Fighting for Hartlepool Hospital campaign group, said: "It's just moving [services] from one place to another. Nothing will really change."

The One Life centre offers a walk-in service, a minor injuries unit and an out-of-hours GP service, while Stockton's North Tees Hospital deals with serious emergency cases.

A petition to save the Hartlepool Hospital's A&E unit was signed by 30,000 people, with campaigners branding the closure decision "devastating".

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