MP Dehenna Davison described proposals to close the stroke unit and ward six at Bishop Auckland Hospital as 'ludicrous' when she met with the health secretary.

On the first day of Parliament in 2020, Ms Davison secured an emergency meeting with Matt Hancock to discuss the proposals, which are currently out for consultation, before flagging her concerns with Boris Johnson during Prime Minister's Question Time.

Stroke reforms warning for Bishop Auckland Hospital

After the meeting, Mr Hancock said: “I was delighted to meet with Dehenna to discuss the issue of stroke services in Bishop Auckland. I was hugely impressed with her hot-footedness in raising the issue with me so quickly, and I’m committed to working with her on this important local issue.

“I know that there are concerns locally, so I will look at this matter carefully so we can ensure Bishop Auckland and the surrounding areas have the health services they need going forward.”

She said: “Many people got in touch with me on Tuesday morning expressing their concerns about the proposed closures. On the first day back in Parliament, I secured an emergency meeting with the Health Secretary to highlight these concerns.

“We discussed steps moving forward, and will be arranging a further meeting in due course.

“Throughout my campaign, I emphasised that local healthcare would be one of my key priorities. To secure a meeting with Matt on our first day back in 2020 shows just how seriously the Health Department and I are taking this issue."I am incredibly concerned that shifting stroke services to Durham will have a substantial negative impact on stroke victims, particularly with regards to recovery therapy. Bishop Auckland Hospital has an outstanding stroke service, with an award winning team, and it would be ludicrous to close this for the sake of further centralisation.

“I will be back in the constituency on Friday and have further discussions planned with local residents with specific concerns about the stroke unit. I will be working with the local community to fight tooth and nail to save our services.”

In Parliament, she said: "Staff at the unit are rightly very concerned about this proposed closure and the impact that will have on local residents, particularly those in my rural communities.

"So can I ask the Prime Minister, are you willing to work with myself and the health secretary to take this matter seriously and prove to the residents of Bishop Auckland that we're on their side?"

Mr Johnson assured her it is the Government's intention to help the constituency.