Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, today announced that the government will give £6.12 million extra to Medway hospital.
This very significant sum, and one of the ten largest grants to any hospital in England, is to support the hospital to reconfigure our Accident and Emergency (A&E) department and better deal with pressures this winter. The minister confirmed to me in Parliament that this was additional money and that our local GP Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) should not cut back the amount of money that it might otherwise have provided to the hospital.
Mark Reckless: Hospital staff have acted with extraordinary enthusiasm to, as they put it, reboot Medway following the Keogh review. Can the Secretary of State confirm that the £6 million or so extra that he may provide to help our A and E should be in addition to anything that the clinical commissioning group might otherwise have agreed to provide?
Jeremy Hunt: Yes, I am happy to confirm that it is additional money. I thank my hon. Friend for the interest that he shows in his local hospital, which is going through a very challenging time. We are absolutely determined that where hospitals are failing or delivering inadequate care, we will not sit on those problems; we will expose them and deal with them. That is the best thing we can do for my hon. Friend’s constituents and people all over the country where there are, unfortunately, problems with local hospitals.
I was also able to highlight to Parliament and the Secretary of State the huge amount which is being done at Medway hospital to improve following the recent Keogh Review.
I have seen that work in train, not only at the hospital Board and in repeated meetings with the hospital Chair and Chief Executives, but through shadowing doctors and nurses in their work.
Steve Hams, Medway’s new Chief Nurse, has brought non-clinical staff, who usually work behind the scenes, on to the wards to help solve design, administrative and IT problems which can hinder medical staff. For example, when I saw doctors queuing to use a computer on one ward, I was told that this was due to there being one less data port than needed, something which Denise Harker, who chairs the hospital Board, has promised me she will now take up.
There is still much to do and I continue to have rounds of meetings with key decisions makers in the NHS to make sure the hospital gets the support it needs.
Partly support means money, and as well as the £6.12 million A&E money just announced we will get the necessary funds for additional training, but staff from most junior to the most senior at the hospital also need to know that they are valued, and that both their NHS partners and the wider community believe in them.
Let’s show them that we do.