Health minister - and local MP - Steve Barclay on official visit to North Cambs Hospital in Wisbech

Steve Barclay, minister of state for the department of health, visiting North Cambridgeshire Hospita

Steve Barclay, minister of state for the department of health, visiting North Cambridgeshire Hospital in Wisbech. Picture: HARRY RUTTER - Credit: Archant

Wisbech could be used as a role model for the rest of the country to show how small local hospitals can ease the pressure on NHS bed shortages at larger settings.

NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, visited the North Cambs hospital today to talk to staff to get their views on how community based services can be grown to offer increased support on a local level.

Mr Barclay said nearly half of patients don’t need to be in larger hospitals where there are struggles with bed shortages and the community hospitals like the one at Wisbech have an important role to play in easing the burden.

He said: “Forty three per cent of patients don’t clinically need to be there (larger hospitals).

“The quicker we can get them out and into rehabilitation and back home the better it is for patient health.

He cast aside his MP role today for a ministerial visit to North Cambs Hospital, Wisbech. MP Steve B

He cast aside his MP role today for a ministerial visit to North Cambs Hospital, Wisbech. MP Steve Barclay,Minister of State for the Department of Health and Social Care, met NHS staff and patients during his visit. PHOTO: NHS - Credit: Archant


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“We have a number of initiatives on how we can put more services into the community.

“It’s a good opportunity to see the excellent work the staff are doing. It provides a good case study for me to take back for discussions with colleagues in the Department of Health.

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“In a rural setting the community hospital has a key role. The more we can localise care in the community at settings like this, Doddington and Ely, the better.”

Mr Barclay also praised the new buildings for muscular skeletal patients, rehabilitation and the new gym.

Tracy Dowling, CEO of local NHS foundation trust, visiting North Cambridgeshire Hospital in Wisbech.

Tracy Dowling, CEO of local NHS foundation trust, visiting North Cambridgeshire Hospital in Wisbech. Picture: HARRY RUTTER - Credit: Archant

Tracy Dowling, chief executive of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust: “Staff in community settings are the hidden heroes of the NHS.

“People like Sandra Dade who is Trafford Ward manager are incredible.

“A leader who is able to guide the younger staff into making sure patients is put first and have excellent sympathetic care

“People like Sandra and her team focus on rehabilitation with a holistic approach.

He cast aside his MP role today for a ministerial visit to North Cambs Hospital, Wisbech. MP Steve B

He cast aside his MP role today for a ministerial visit to North Cambs Hospital, Wisbech. MP Steve Barclay,Minister of State for the Department of Health and Social Care, met NHS staff and patients during his visit. PHOTO: NHS - Credit: Archant

“Their hard work means that frail or elderly people transferred from the acute bigger hospitals, like Peterborough or King’s Lynn, can improve while here and go back home feeling confident they are ready.

“We would like to develop this approach.

“We would also like to develop step-up services so people that need more care than just at home, but are not bad enough to be in a larger hospitals, are able to come here.”

Mary Killingworth, of Wisbech, who was at the hospital visiting a friend, said: “There used to be loads of wards here for children, elderly, lots of different services, but things seem to have got cut back more and more.

He cast aside his MP role today for a ministerial visit to North Cambs Hospital, Wisbech. MP Steve B

He cast aside his MP role today for a ministerial visit to North Cambs Hospital, Wisbech. MP Steve Barclay,Minister of State for the Department of Health and Social Care, met NHS staff and patients during his visit. PHOTO: NHS - Credit: Archant

“Because the hospital is local it makes it easier for people to get here.

“Once they started moving things to Peterborough and King’s Lynn it made it very difficult.

“Not everyone can drive and getting on a bus is ever such hard work and also expensive for older people like me or mums with small children.

“We need to build this hospital back up and keep things local.”

Mary Killingworth at North Cambridgeshire Hospital in Wisbech. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

Mary Killingworth at North Cambridgeshire Hospital in Wisbech. Picture: HARRY RUTTER - Credit: Archant

As an MP Mr Barclay has fought for improvements to North Cambs Hospital at Wisbech – and today he was on official Government business to find out more about an ongoing £8 million investment.

Mr Barclay has long championed the need for improvements at the outdated North Cambs Hospital and made it top of his Treat Me Local campaign.

Matthew Winn, chief executive of the Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, is expecting the face lift to provide “a vibrant local base for health services”.

Some of the work is well under way but other plans include refurbishing by autumn 2019 the existing kitchen/dining block to create a new clinical area.

Outpatient services delivered by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are moving to a new clinical area at the hospital.

Also the main entrance and waiting areas will be improved and there will be additional car parking space and the area landscaped areas.

The ambitious plans also include a café and improvements to public areas and a new energy centre which will provide a more sustainable approach to heating.

Mr Barclay said: “The £8 million for Wisbech is part of a wider capital package.

“This autumn we will be announcing £700 million of capital investment and a further £700 million next year.

“The prime minister that will take the NHS budget up by over £25 billion a year so we are investing in the NHS to make sure it remains fit for the future.”

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