Bishop Auckland’s MP has broken her silence on the future of a campaign to reopen a hospital’s A&E department. 

Dehenna Davison called for the service to resume ever since being elected in 2019, 10 years on from its initial closure. The A&E was closed in 2009 and residents have been forced to travel 12 miles to either Darlington Memorial Hospital or University Hospital Durham for emergency care.

But the campaign has faced several setbacks, including in January this year when a public meeting organised by the Conservative MP was cancelled at the last minute. 

Now, she has explained why the campaign is at a stalemate. 

As a newly-elected MP, Ms Davison raised the issue repeatedly in Westminster, but any early progress on the scheme was hampered by the Covid pandemic.

The Northern Echo: Bishop Auckland General HospitalBishop Auckland General Hospital (Image: Sarah Caldecott) 

Speaking to the Northern Agenda podcast, she said: “I wouldn't have campaigned on that as one of my core pledges if I didn't think it was needed and if I didn't think it was possible.

"I never said I'm going to bring back the A&E because I don't like those bold promises when you know that there's a chance that it might not happen.” 

However, she admits of not wanting to add extra pressure onto the NHS and “be the annoying MP on the side who's saying, 'yes, I know you're going through all that horrible stuff. But by the way, can we have the A&E back'.”

The MP added: "That felt wrong, it felt churlish, and it felt like I would be doing that purely to kind of prove a point. I did sit on it for a while which in hindsight, perhaps I shouldn't have done. But it just felt wrong.”

Ms Davison admitted however that the decision was ultimately beyond her control, with local health authorities having greater say over decisions than politicians. 

The 2009 closure came after a clinical review into services at the County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust found there was insufficient clinical staff and essential support services required to support the department at the hospital.

“In County Durham there is a move towards centralisation of services. And so it was quite clear from the outset that the trust's belief was that the hospital in Bishop should be for elective surgeries,” she admitted. 

"It felt to me like right from the get go, before I even got in and asked the question, they'd already made the decision that was never going back.”

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Ms Davison will stand down as an MP at the next election but will pass on all details of the campaign to the new Conservative candidate. 

"It's a really important campaign and we'll still do whatever I can to make it happen - but really disappointed that I haven't been able to make more progress,” she added. 

The Trust said Bishop Auckland Hospital remains a “valued facility” which provides a range of planned care services to people across the region.