Wynyard hospital plans suspended by NHS trust
The development of a £300m "super-hospital" on Teesside has been put on hold until after the general election.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust says it is unlikely to get the "political support" to complete the development before the 2015 vote.
Chief executive Alan Foster said: "Any new government is likely to review all new developments (causing) further delay."
Stockton MP James Wharton welcomed the suspension.
The trust had been proposing to replace hospitals in Hartlepool and Stockton with the new development, but Mr Wharton said his own survey of 2,673 people found 76% were opposed to the move.
Mr Wharton said: "This is a suspension rather than cancellation but the trust now needs to turn its attention to North Tees (hospital in Stockton) and the investment it needs.
"The trust should immediately start planning to use some of the hundreds of millions it had earmarked for Wynyard on North Tees so that local people get the care they deserve."
Mr Foster said: "The new hospital is a fundamental part of our strategy for the 21st Century.
"However a general election is now looming and the board recognises that any new government is likely 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.
"The board has therefore decided to pause the development work on the new hospital."
Mr Foster said the trust would speak to staff and the public about ways of delivering "more care closer to home" while improving the "safety and quality" of its hospitals.
Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson tweeted: "North Tees and Hartlepool Trust pause the future of the new hospital as a result of government indecision and lack of commitment to the North East."