IN reply to John Gilmore's letter about the closure of Bishop Auckland hospital's stroke unit (HAS, Jan 9), it was during Tony Blair’s Labour government that this privately financed so-called 'state of the art' hospital was built in 2002 at a cost of £67m.

At the time, critics including consultants and a former health trust chairman, said it was a white elephant and should never have been built, and it was also during the Labour reign that the children’s ward was closed down.

The hospital is built on is privately owned land and the exorbitant lease that the NHS signed under Labour was without a suitable get-out clause.

As with many important decisions made by Labour, documents were signed without any idea about how to make the project successful or having the means to pay.

So you see, Mr Gilmore, this rushed decision, like many others made by Labour, has cost not only the NHS many millions, it has also caused misery and I’m sure many fatalities to those who could have been attended to in this Mary Celeste of hospitals.

John Cumberland, Rushyford.