Winchester & Chandler's Ford MP, Steve Brine, paid a New Year visit to Winchester's Royal Hampshire County Hospital this morning to hear how Winter pressures are impacting our local NHS and to thank staff for their hard work over the holiday period.
The MP, who also now chairs of the powerful Health & Social Care Select Committee in the House of Commons, spent time meeting senior Trust managers before visiting the Emergency Department where he spoke with staff at length.
He also visited Clarke Ward - and Shawford Ward - where staff spent time chatting with the MP about the impact on specialist and general wards of the huge rise in demand this Winter for acute services.
Steve says; "This morning and lunchtime I spent a number of hours at Winchester Hospital to hear how Winter pressures are impacting our local hospital.
"There is no question the usual Winter impact is being compounded this year by a huge rise in demand and the 'twindemic' of flu on top of Covid. The message I received time and again was just how poorly many people being admitted are - some of them much younger - as a result of the nasty strain of flu virus circulating at this time. All of this is, of course, on top of the usual RSV and upper respiratory infections we tend to see at this time of year.
"It was actually a very quiet session in A&E today so a welcome chance for team members to draw breath and regroup - and for their local MP to thank colleagues for all their hard work. Thanks to all team members for spending their valuable time with me and to all staff at our Trust for the extraordinary shift they continue to put in to look after us.
"I was visiting as our local MP, as I do very regularly, but the time staff spent with me will inform my work on the Select Committee as the Commons prepares to return on Monday. There is no question, and I hear this everywhere I go, until we resolve some of the problems in social care - on the domiciliary side in particular - and in access to primary care we will continue to see the acute sector struggle. My Select Committee will be returning to this subject again and again including when the Secretary of State comes before us later this month."
The MP discussed also recruitment and retention issues facing nursing and the current strikes being pursued by the Royal College of Nursing. Nurses in Winchester are not striking after the local ballot failed to secure the required 50% in support of industrial action.
During Mr Brine's visit a major exercise was underway, involving colleagues from Hampshire County Council, local GP's and the new Integrated Care Board to move patients who do not need to be in hospital out into social care.
Pictured; Steve Brine in the RHCH Emergency Department this morning.
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Hampshire & IOW Integrated Care System