I HAVE to have my say on the future of the Accident and Emergency Department at Darlington Memorial Hospital. If it were to close, how do they expect people to travel to Durham or Teesside for treatment, and why should we when we have a hospital on our doorstep?

I had to go to A&E recently and was admitted for a few days. I was in some pain and discomfort, so I would have been unable to drive to Durham or Teesside. Why should my family be expected to travel the extra distance to visit me?

Are the decision makers saying that the hospitals at Durham, North Tees, and James Cook at Middlesbrough are underused? I very much doubt it. It will put a strain on them.

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What would happen if someone from Darlington went to Durham or Teesside and had to be admitted, but there were no beds available? The hospital would have to find one. There is a chance that the patient could end up back in Darlington.

Patients needing intensive or maternity care are also going to suffer, by the sound of it.

Why not re-open the A&E at Bishop Auckland to help the situation?

I understand that the new building, which is costing £30m at the Memorial, will have modern operating theatres, an up-to-date mortuary, a bereavement centre and a multi-faith chapel. That’s fantastic, thank you, but we need and must keep or improve the other departments.

John Hill, Darlington