Peterborough City Hospital will receive a funding boost to try and alleviate some of its pressures, the Health Secretary has promised.
Matt Hancock visited the hospital yesterday alongside Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Peterborough Paul Bristow.
The cabinet member held a question-and-answer session with staff and toured a number of areas including the Emergency Department and a medicine for the elderly ward, which has been transformed to make it a more calming environment for patients with dementia.
He spoke to the Peterborough Telegraph at The Cresset where he was meeting some of his party's candidates in the upcoming city council elections.
He said: "I get the pressures and I saw some of them for myself. What we need to do is respond to that with extra support. So we're putting in an extra £20 billion into the NHS over the next five years, and a decent chunk of that will come to Peterborough because Peterborough is a growing town and you can see the health needs are growing and we're going to make sure it's properly funded so that Peterborough hospital is always there for all the residents.
"However, money is part of it but it's not the whole picture. For instance, making sure we get the technology right is incredibly important. It's something Peterborough hospital is working on well."
Asked how much of the £20 billion Peterborough would see, the Secretary of State stated that no decisions had been taken yet.
Peterborough City Hospital, which is run by the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, is one of many hospitals in the country to experience huge winter pressures, with missed A&E waiting targets and ambulances losing hundreds of hours from delays in transferring patients.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable visited the hospital last week and told the PT there were concerns European staff might leave after Brexit.
Responding to those comment, Mr Hancock said: "The European staff in Peterborough hospital are not only able to stay, but we very much hope that they will stay. I was talking to the staff about that and making sure we support them, because ultimately a happy hospital is better able to deliver services to people locally.
"Since the referendum there are now more people from the EU working in the NHS and they are doing an incredibly valuable job."
According to a report from fullfact.org last November, the number of NHS staff working in hospitals and community health services in England who report they are from the rest of the EU had risen in the two years since the June 2016 referendum.
But the independent charity said this had coincided with a fall in the number of staff whose nationality is unknown, so some of the increase could be down to more staff reporting their nationality.
It added: "EU nationals made up the same proportion of NHS England staff (whose nationality was known) in June 2018 as they did in June 2016."
Mr Hancock also sought to ease fears about potential medicine shortages in a no deal Brexit,
He added: "If there are delays at the border then we are doing everything that we can to ensure there is the unhindered supply of medicines. There's lots of parts to that, but I'm confident that if everybody does what they need to do, then we will have the free-flow of medicines and there won't be an impact on the NHS."
Mr Bristow said: "They are doing a really fantastic job here. Some of my family have been ill relatively recently, and if it wasn't for the care by the people of the hospital things could have been very different. so I'm so pleased Matt came along."
Trust chief executive Caroline Walker said: “I’d like to thank the Secretary of State for taking the time to visit our hospital and for giving our staff the chance to discuss at length the great things we are doing and the challenges we, like many other hospitals across the country, are facing right now.
“It was particularly great to be able to show him the fantastic work our teams are doing, day in and day out, despite the challenges to ensure our patients continue to have a safe and good experience.
"I am hugely proud of our staff, so it was especially pleasing to see them have the opportunity for a question-and-answer session with the Health Secretary.”
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