A would-be MP and campaigner have jointly penned a letter to Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen in a bid to get a new hospital built in their town.

Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Hartlepool, Jonathan Brash and campaigner Glen Hughes of 'Fighting 4 Hartlepool Hopsital' have jointly wrote a letter to Lord Houchen in a plea to have a new hospital built on the town's existing Holdforth Road site.

This comes after Ben Houchen promised to build a new hospital to replace the University Hospital of North Tees as part of his re-election campaign.

The Northern Echo: Jonathan Brash and Glen Hughes outside Hartlepool’s Hospital.Jonathan Brash and Glen Hughes outside Hartlepool’s Hospital. (Image: JONATHAN BRASH)

Lord Houchen has previously admitted he had no control over health services but pointed out he has delivered on other pledges, outside his remit, and building a new hospital “doesn’t seem to me to be that difficult”.

In their joint letter, Mr Brash and Mr Hughes, say: “You have pledged to build a new hospital to serve the people of our region and our message to you is a simple one - build it in Hartlepool.”

They state the Holdforth Site holds enough land, would ensure balanced care, strengthen infrastructure and is accessible.

Mr Brash added: "Glen and I have been campaigning on hospital services for years and right now is a critical moment for the future of health provision in our town and wider region.

"Everyone knows the significant problems that exist at North Tees, with the life expectancy of the building now less than 10 years. We need a plan urgently and that means making a decision on where any new hospital will be located.

"There’s been a lot of speculation as to whether Mayor Houchen can deliver on his pledge, but if there is to be a new hospital then Holdforth Road ticks all the boxes.

"It would ensure balanced hospital provision across the region - it’s a no brainer - build it here!"

Mr Hughes added: "Everyone knows that money is tight, so it doesn’t make a great deal of sense to build on a brand new site that will require all the additional infrastructure when you have the right option here.

"Holdforth Road has the services, the land and the infrastructure already in place and, crucially, it is already owned by the NHS Trust.

"At the end of the day, this is about fairness. I think people are pretty fed up with services disappearing and it's about time some of them came back.

"So, if there is going to be this massive investment somewhere else, Hartlepool needs to get its fair share and its services back."

The Department of Health and Social Care has said it cannot comment on political proposals, but it was “important to note” that the mayor does not have the relevant powers to build a new hospital.

Infrastructure needs are determined by local health system planners across the 42 Integrated Care Systems in collaboration with NHS England, said a spokesperson.

They added: “Regardless of the source of financing available, any such investment would still require budgetary cover from within the Department’s maximum capital budget that is set by Parliament.

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“The Department’s 2024/25 capital has been fully allocated and future capital budget limits will be set by HMT [Treasury] at the next spending review.”

A £380m bid to replace the Stockton hospital was knocked back by the Government last May, with just eight years’ life left in the buildings.

However, the proposal failed to make it on to a list of 40 new hospitals being built under Government plans.