Health Secretary Andrew Lansley visited Winchester today, Thursday 9th February where he met local GPs, saw acute stroke services in the city and visited a local primary school to receive a very special cheque.
Mr Lansley dropped into St Bede Primary School in Hyde to receive a cheque for just over £1,000 on behalf of the Magic Wand Appeal which seeks to raise £1.5m for major improvements to children's inpatient services at Winchester's Royal Hampshire County Hospital.
Mr Lansley was invited by local MP Steve Brine to visit the city during which he also spent time at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital meeting the new team running Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust which includes the RHCH, Basingstoke Hospital and the Andover War Memorial Hospital. He also took time to chat with local GPs who will lead the new West Hampshire Care Commissioning Group.
The Secretary of State said; "Steve has kept me closely briefed on the Winchester health scene since joining the House of Commons but I wanted to come and see for myself once more the excellent work being done at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital and meet some of the key players who will drive further improvements in patient care. District General Hospitals such as Winchester should be at the heart of the NHS and I am pleased the new Foundation Trust secures its long-term future for local people.
"Thanks to the new Hyper Acute Stroke Unit at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, people in Andover, Basingstoke, Winchester and the surrounding area now have access to the best possible stroke treatment. Swift treatment for stroke is critical for the speed and extent of a patients' recovery. The stroke service at the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is one of the best in the South of England region."
Steve Brine added; "These are times are enormous change in the NHS nationally but also locally as Winchester Hospital and those commissioning care move into a new but potentially very exciting era. I am only concerned with delivering the best possible NHS care for local people and I hope the Health Secretary has today seen a strong team across the acute sector and among the GPs will drive our new commissioning group on his visit to Winchester."
Dr John Duffy Clinical Director, Long-term Conditions and the lead stroke clinician at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said "I'm proud of what we have been able to achieve in Winchester and our hyper acute stroke unit means we are able to deliver better care for our patients, combining acute treatment with rehabilitation to optimise patient's recovery and minimise long term damage."
Chief Executive Mary Edwards said "The Secretary of State for Health's visit has provided us with the opportunity to showcase the excellent work of our hyper acute stroke unit and the benefits that this will continue to bring to our patients as we develop this and other services as part of Hampshire Hospitals NHS FT."
Pictured; Andrew Lansley and Steve Brine in the Hyper Acute Stroke Unit with Dr John Duffy (top) and (middle) Andrew speaking to Peter Henley from BBC South Today. See image of Steve and Andrew at St Bede Church of England Primary School here.
More information ...
Royal Hampshire County Hospital - www.hampshirehospitals.nhs.uk
St Bede's Church of England Primary School - www.stbedewinchester.co.uk
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