Friday, 5 August 2011

Hartlepool Hospital closure made inevitable in 1945?

Interesting to look into the historical precedent of the Hartlepool Hospital saga. Many people have argued, myself included, that Hartlepool was destined to lose its last hospital as soon as "North Tees and Hartlepool Trust" was formed. The clear senior partner being North Tees.

However, it could actually be said that the seeds for the demise of Hartlepool Hospital were sown in the 1940's. According to Jerry White (Winner of the Wolfson History Prize for 2001, visiting Professor at Middlesex University and one of the three Local Government Ombudsmen for England)

"Morrison fought hard for the National Health Service (NHS) to be devolved to, and run by, local government, losing out to a powerful cabinet coalition, at least one of whom had an unreasoning hatred of Good Old 'Erb and all his works. And also that the LCC passed over its hospitals to the Minister 'reluctantly' and 'with sorrow'. In its stead local 'accountability' in the new national service was manufactured through a network of local boards. Their members were placed there by the Minister and could be removed at his direction. It was the greatest creation of quangos in British administrative history. And it marks the true beginning of that withering away of local democracy recognised belatedly by the Royal Commission on Local Government in England in 1969: it called the loss of the hospitals a 'great misfortune' that ought to be reversed. But just five years later the remaining local authority health services were nationalised too."

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