On Friday 15th June, Richard Harrington MP welcomed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jeremy Hunt MP, to Watford General Hospital to discuss redevelopment plans, as well as recent successes.
The Secretary of State met senior NHS Staff including Chief Executive, Katie Fisher and Chairman, Steve Barnett to discuss the proposals which will see a wholescale redevelopment of Watford General Hospital.
Mr Hunt also spent an hour with hospital staff -from nurses, doctors and consultants to medical secretaries and operations managers-and they discussed patient safety across the NHS.
The 70 plus staff also heard NHS England’s medical director Professor Steve Powis speak about the importance of creating a transparent culture with a focus on learning and not blaming.
The trust’s chief nurse Tracey Carter and deputy medical director Dr Anna Wood also presented and reminded the audience of the trust’s recent successes.
After the speeches, Mr Hunt – who is now the UK’s longest-serving health secretary – fielded a range of questions from staff covering; resources for children’s mental health services; staffing and the potential of technology to transform healthcare. On that point he said that it was an accepted fact that the trust’s estate urgently needs capital investment.
Jeremy Hunt said: “Staff at West Herts have been on an amazing journey since the trust was placed in special measures and have made some incredible improvements. I’d like to wish their outgoing chief executive Katie Fisher all the best as she leaves the NHS this year – she’s led the trust to make profound improvements in the face of rising demand.”
Mr Harrington, who has been campaigning for a revamped hospital, welcomed the Health Secretary’s support and said “I’m so pleased that Jeremy accepted my invitation to come to Watford and speak to staff face-to-face about plans. Our hospital staff are first class, but now we need the first class facilities to match. I will be working closely with the Department for Health and NHS Staff to make sure we have the funds we need.
But today was also a celebration of the patient safety journey which the hospital has been on. We’ve seen sustained improvements across the board, with the Trust moving out of special measures earlier this year. This is not just down to the hard work of the fantastic leadership team, as all of the staff there have worked tirelessly to drive up standards.”
Trust chairman Professor Steve Barnett said: “Patient safety is our top priority, so it was great to hear the Secretary of State give such an honest and insightful talk on this topic. The fact that it was a ‘standing room only’ event showed how passionate our staff are about what they do and how much the NHS matters to them.
“Whilst we don’t have new buildings to show off, Jeremy can’t fail to have been impressed by what he heard from our staff about our appetite to keep our improvement journey going. It was great to have his congratulations in person for moving out of special measures.”