STRCUTURE: North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust has shelved a plan to build a new hospital until after the next general election.

The trust said in a statement last week that the “complexities” of the process by which its plans would be approved without “high-level political support” left it unable to get a decision before the 2015 poll.

It would instead “seek views on how to deliver more care closer to home where possible” and would seek to “secure further investment in community based services.

The trust also planned to “centralise services where necessary to maintain and improve the safety and quality of hospital-based provision”.

Trust chief executive Alan Foster said any new government was “likely to wish to review all new developments in the light of its own priorities”.

“As a result, there will inevitably be further delay in the completion of a new hospital,” he added.

Such delays could “compromise the major advances that have been made to date in the quality and efficiency of local services”, he added.

“The board has therefore decided to pause the development work on the new hospital.”

The trust would keep its position under review “in the light of national developments”, Mr Foster added.