Barnet Hospital hosted a visit from local MP, Theresa Villiers, this week. Yesterday, the MP for Chipping Barnet met Debbie Sanders, CEO of the hospital, and senior members of her team. Their discussions covered a range of issues including: the number of Covid cases; new Covid treatments; resumption of patient visiting; staff concerns; recruitment and retention of staff; progress on clearing the backlog of treatment and reducing waiting lists; social care and discharges into the community; access to GP appointments; and high levels of A&E attendance.
Theresa was taken round the Emergency Department to meet staff on the front line. She also visited new areas provided for staff breaks. And she toured round the Rainbow modular ward which was recently built to provide extra capacity to treat Covid patients.
Speaking after her visit, Theresa said “It was great to be able to resume my regular visits to Barnet Hospital. I have kept in close touch with the team here throughout the health emergency, but it is always important to meet people face-to-face and see our local NHS heroes in action. I am incredibly grateful to all of them for their work during the pandemic. I thank them for all they are doing.”
“I am hugely impressed by the determination of everyone at our local hospital to care for those with Covid and to do all they can to catch up on treatment for other conditions. Capacity at the hospital was expanded a few years ago with a bigger A&E, but I was told that numbers attending these days are often twice the number for which the facility is designed.”
“It is great that our local hospital has a new modular ward which is being used to provide excellent care to people with Covid. I was also told that a significant increase in nursing staff is on the way soon too.”
“But my conversations today have convinced me more than ever of the need for further action to recruit and retain NHS staff. I welcome the record levels of investment from the Government into the NHS. But if we are to spend that effectively and enable the NHS to meet the ever increasing levels of demand, then long term workforce planning is essential.”
“Straight after my visit, I headed into Westminster and made that point on the floor of the House of Commons.”
The Hansard Report of Theresa’s question to Health Minister, Ed Arger on retention of NHS staff can be read here. Pictures from the visit are attached for your use.