A North East MP has reacted with anger at the government’s rejection of a £380m bid to build a new hospital, while another said he was “gutted” that it was not successful.

Bosses of a trust facing a huge repair backlog for the crumbling University Hospital of North Tees launched a bid to replace the hospital in 2021. They have been waiting since to find out if the Hardwick site would be included in a shortlist.

The hospital site had been labelled “not fit for purpose” with leaking roofs and windows, broken ceiling panels and freezing pipes.

A recent report to the trust said buildings at the hospital had been given a 10-year lifespan – endangering patients, staff and the public if not maintained – and would be “beyond their effective use/purpose by 2031”.

By that time, the cost of maintaining the three buildings was estimated to rise to about £300m.

The new hospital bid was not part of Health Secretary Steve Barclay’s announcement about the New Hospital Programme.

Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, reacted with dismay, saying: “The government made the announcement on the so-called new hospitals programme today. It doesn’t include North Tees.

“I’ve checked with the hospital and the chief executive has confirmed to me that the bid for the new hospital to replace North Tees has not been successful.

“We’ve had some of the worst health inequalities in the entire country and the government just seem to be ignoring us. Ministers know about the health inequalities, they’ve seen the state of the hospital.

“They know it needs to be replaced and yet they’ve chosen not to include it in the programme. So I’m very angry indeed.

The Northern Echo: Alex Cunningham is 'very angry indeed'Alex Cunningham is 'very angry indeed' (Image: LDRS)

“They’re spending thousands and thousands of pounds every week just trying to maintain the building and keep it functioning. The staff are delivering a fantastic service there.

“When you look at it on the surface everything looks fine but I’ve been into the bowels of the hospital. I’ve seen the ceiling tiles, the windows that leak, all the problems. They’ve had to try to fit a modern health service into a very old building.

“There’s no explanation whatsoever. One of the galling things about it is there’s no indication of when they’ll entertain a (fresh) bid. We have no idea at all when we could even apply for funding to get a new hospital.

“This programme’s supposed to go up to 2030 and there’s no indication of when other areas can bid for future new hospitals.”

He said he would be raising the matter in the House of Commons, adding: “I’ve been there for 13 years and I’ve talked about health inequalities in our area. I’m going to continue to do that. The only hope we have of proper facilities for our area is a change of government.”

He also said in a statement: “Despite numerous visits for photo-ops from Ministers – and even the Prime Minister – to North Tees, and my continued efforts over 13 years to raise the issue of North Tees’ crumbling estate and its impact on local health inequalities, the Conservative government has yet again failed to deliver a much needed hospital for Stockton-on-Tees.”

He he welcomed plans for a diagnostic centre for Stockton town centre, saying: “I’m sure it will support the NHS to promote good health in our area – but it is a centre, not a hospital.

“Our local NHS staff do a tremendous job to support the people of Stockton-on-Tees get better and tackle deep-rooted health inequalities that blight our communities. They are being failed by this Conservative government.”

Matt Vickers, Conservative MP for Stockton South, insisted that his party remnained committed to improving health in the region.

He said: “Despite Alex Cunningham’s disparaging comments, the Conservatives are committed to supporting the North Tees NHS Trust. Our current investment represents real tangible improvements which contrasts the investment from previous governments.

“I’m gutted that we were not successful in a bid for a new build of North Tees in this round and understand that much of the funding that was given for new builds was to hospitals with treated concrete issues.

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"I will continue to push for more investment and work with our local NHS trust and the Department for Health to pursue a new build hospital for Stockton.

“However, in recent months we have received unprecedented funding and investment. We received £40m towards upgrading James Cook and North Tees hospitals with new radiology equipment and a new respiratory unit, £3m for a mental health crisis hub and a further £20m to deliver a brand new community diagnostic centre.

“Despite not being a hospital, our diagnostic centre is forecast to carry out 104,000 lifesaving checks every year with state-of-the-art equipment. These huge investments from the Conservative government mean that pressure will be eased on the main hospital sites, as new specialist centres move in.”