North West Norfolk MP James Wild praises heatwave wildfire fighters and King's Lynn Queen Elizabeth Hospital visit by Health Secretary Steve Barclay
Having a Health Secretary whose son was born at QEH and who has supported my efforts to get QEH selected as one of the new hospital schemes can only be a good thing.
It was encouraging that only a week after his appointment he visited the hospital to review the serious situation and to see some of the 1,500 timber and steel supports. He spoke to patients and staff on Necton Ward about their concerns of laying in beds under props and the impact on the ability to provide high quality care.
During the visit we talked about QEH’s compelling case as a RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete-built) hospital for investment and the hospital management outlined the proposals to deliver facilities fit for the future.
The Health Secretary is reviewing QEH’s bid and others to be able to make recommendations on which schemes should be taken forward as part of the eight new schemes. Given the imminent change in prime minister, it is very frustrating that it is highly likely that decisions will not now be taken before a new person is in post.
When opening the new West Norfolk Eye Centre, he praised staff for their efforts to come out of special measures. The increased productivity that this centre will enable is one of his priorities for reform and he was particularly focused on QEH’s plans for digitisation.
As an example, he cited Milton Keynes where the hospital’s app enables appointments to be booked online while consultants’ letters are dictated and sent digitally so they hit the inbox before patients get to their cars. That is something people in West Norfolk should expect to benefit from.
With the unacceptably long ambulance waiting times people are experiencing, he also took away practical suggestions from frontline staff on steps to help improve the flow of patients and to address issues with delayed discharges.
As I write, we are still coming to terms with the devastating fires at Wild Ken Hill and in Brancaster Staithe.
I want to pay tribute to the fire fighters and members of the local communities who assisted in tackling these infernos and I have offered any assistance I can to help.
Before those fires, many struggled in the heatwave due to the loss of water in the Woottons, Castle Rising, Reffley and elsewhere due to a burst water main. I was in close contact with Anglian Water’s chief executive – as well as the leader of the borough council – raising concerns, urging for bottled water to be made available with a focus on the vulnerable, and stressing the urgency of the repair. I am grateful to the teams who worked hard in tough conditions to fix the problem.
The moving deadlines to fix the problem damaged trust.
In Parliament I stressed that people are rightly angry and it is important to learn lessons including on communication and contingency planning to provide bottled water. These are issues I will take up in a review of this incident which the chief executive has agreed to ensure a better response if there is a repeat incident.
James Wild MP