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Sunday 24th September 2017

Blair's local hospitals to close

24th January 2007

05042006_baby_ward.jpgThe row over hospital closures has deepened after it emerged two large hospitals serving patients in Tony Blair's constituency are set to go.

A new hospital will replace facilities in Stockton and Hartlepool, providing care for almost 500,000 people.

It came after disputes over which hospital should provide maternity services.

The proposals were published by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel set up to resolve disputes about NHS closures.

The panel said the new unit should be accessible for patients in Hartlepool, Stockton, Easington, and Sedgefield, Mr Blair’s constituency.

It is expected to take up to seven years to build. Until then consultant-led maternity and paediatric services will move to Stockton, despite fierce campaigns in Hartlepool, which saw MP Iain Wright resign his government post.

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt has pledged a midwife-led unit in Hartlepool for women who don’t require medical intervention.

The hospitals set to close have a combined income of around £200m a year.

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