Health secretary's 'positive response' welcomed by Royston Hospital campaigners
PUBLISHED: 06:54 27 January 2020
Royston Hospital campaigners have "welcomed the positive response" that came from the health secretary after one of our MPs highlighted the prospect of more NHS hubs for health and social care in the House of Commons.
North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald asked Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock this month whether he agreed more hubs such as these would "relieve the hospitals of some of their burden" - citing Royston as a potential example.
In response, Mr Hancock said he hoped "that we can make some progress on Royston" - which had its beds removed from the London Road hospital site in 2012.
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The health secretary added that "Royston is an example of how the NHS needs to be formulated in the future", and that it is about "making sure we support the NHS where people live".
Sarah Hillman - a director of community interest company Royston Community Health, which has been campaigning for the site to be turned into hub for health and social care - said: "Last month we sent an open letter to both our local MPs, as we have been urging the NHS for 6+ years to use Royston Hospital as a health and social care hub. RCH thanks Sir Oliver for his question in Parliament and welcomes the positive response that he received about such hubs.
"It is evidence that what we propose fits well with the long-term plan for the NHS, and that the secretary of state supports moving healthcare out of hospitals and into the community because of the health benefits, efficiencies and reduced costs. In a cash-strapped NHS area, that makes a lot of sense.
"We are also very pleased that South Cambs MP Anthony Browne is joining Sir Oliver in pressing for this vision to be turned into reality, as our new Meridian Primary Care Network covers parts of both their constituencies. GP practices in this network lack space to provide these additional community health services that are required now, but there is room for them at the hospital - where a good range of clinics are already run.
"We believe that our two MPs will be a strong voice, pressing for pre-election promises to be fulfilled here, where something can be done quickly using an existing NHS building. We are looking forward to meeting both MPs at the end of February to discuss what practical steps can now be taken."