Liberal Democrats leader Sir Vince Cable praised the achievements and pride of staff when he paid a visit to Royal Hampshire County Hospital.
Sir Vince was shown around Winchester hospital by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chairman Steve Erskine and chief executive Alex Whitfield, taking in the emergency department, Burrell House, which will soon become Winchester Hospice, and the Colebrook Day Unit.
“It has been a very informative, very enjoyable and very encouraging visit,” Sir Vince said. “We always hear about the health service being under pressure but everywhere I’ve been here I’ve seen very high morale, high achievement and pride in the hospital, which is what you want to hear.”
The Liberal Democrats leader spoke to a number of staff in the emergency department before enjoying a tour of what will soon be expanded facilities.
Building work is under way to create space for additional rapid assessment and treatment areas, as well as a paediatric assessment unit in the emergency department at Winchester hospital.
Rapid assessment and treatment areas will ensure that all patients coming into the emergency departments are cared for in the right environment for their needs sooner, as well as providing a better working environment for staff. In addition, a paediatric assessment unit will ensure that young patients who visit the emergency department have the best possible experience.
Sir Vince then moved on to Burrell House, where he was told about the exciting plans to transform what was an unused building into a hospice for the people of Winchester and the surrounding area.
A fundraising campaign is currently under way to raise the £3million required to refurbish Burrell House and turn it into a hospice containing 10 inpatient beds with ensuite facilities, as well as space for day therapy services and outpatient facilities.
Sir Vince’s final stop on his tour of the hospital was the Colebrook Day Unit, where he met staff nurses Sarah Woods and Anne-Marie Barrand.
Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Royal Hampshire County Hospital, as well as hospitals in Andover and Basingstoke, said: “I’d like to thank Sir Vince for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit Winchester hospital.
“We are incredibly excited about the improvements that are taking place in our emergency department and the plans for Winchester Hospice, which will be a fantastic addition to the healthcare facilities available in the city.”