Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
New hospital project continues to gather momentum
CONTROVERSIAL plans to replace two existing North-East hospitals with a new hospital are edging forward.
Despite the Coalition Government refusing to use public money to fund the project back in 2010, the board of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust believe the new hospital could still be funded privately.
The process of identifying a financial partner began on October 4 with a notice posted in the Official Journal of the European Union.
A shortlist of three bidders is expected to be confirmed in December.
A spokesman for the trust said: "The Board remains confident that it can take advantage of competitive market conditions for major constructin projects. "
Trust officials confirmed that there has been interest from "at least one pension fund" to provide the capital required to build the scheme.
Under EU rules the project has to go through a competitive tendering process.
Monitor, the independent body which regulates NHS foundation trusts, are due to carry out a detailed assessment of the affordability of the scheme before any contracts are signed.
The £300m cost of construction would have to be borrowed and paid back with interest by local NHS commissioning groups.
It is hoped that the new Wynyard hospital could open in late 2016.
The new hospital will have fewer beds than the two existing hospitals.
Campaigners in Hartlepool have consistently opposed the closure of their local hospital.