HOSPITAL bosses and GPs have pledged to do all they can to re-open the breast cancer clinic at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

Clinics have been suspended at the Darlington hospital since May because of staff shortages. Women from the Darlington area with suspected breast cancer are now being seen at the breast cancer clinic at Bishop Auckland General Hospital.

The temporary closure of the clinic has been strongly criticised by Darlington MP Jenny Chapman, who described the move as “outrageous” and called for it to be re-opened as quickly as possible.

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Protesters dressed as country singer Dolly Parton are due to hold a ‘flashmob’ demonstration against the closure in Joseph Pease Square in Darlington town centre at 2pm on Thursday (July 10).

In the joint statement – from Sue Jacques, chief executiv e of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Andrea Jones, chair of NHS Darlington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – said: “We understand the concerns of Darlington residents about the temporary transfer of the Breast Clinic from Darlington to Bishop Auckland and apologise for the inconvenience caused.

“This decision was taken because of our commitment to ensuring that people have access to the best care with the best possible outcomes. The NHS national standard is for women referred to a breast clinic by a GP to be seen within two weeks. This is important so that treatment, where necessary, can begin quickly. It is also important for peace of mind.

“The Foundation Trust is suffering from some temporary shortages of key clinical staff. This means that the trust cannot hold clinics at both Darlington and Bishop Auckland and see women within two weeks. The trust has located the merged clinic at Bishop Auckland as there is more space available for the additional workload. This has always been a temporary step while a more formal review of breast services takes place."

The two said the CCG and Foundation Trust “will work together to secure the re-instatement of this important service in Darlington.”

Members of the public who want to express their concern or ask questions are being urged to send an email to

You can follow the trust on Twitter @CDDFTNHS and/or follow the Clinical Commissioning Group @DarloCCG, #AsktheCCG

Information is also available on Facebook/cddft.