An evening spent with a routine Friday night shift of doctors, nurses, managers and support staff at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s specialist emergency hospital proved to be a real eye-opener for Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery.
Over several hours, he spent time with control room staff listening to them taking part in a tele-conference with colleagues at Hexham and North Tyneside hospitals discussing bed availability and how they could share resources together, seeing patients being assessed and treated in the accident and emergency department and talking to patients on a surgical ward, as well as being allowed into the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Mr Lavery had asked for the chance to visit the hospital as part of what he hopes will be a series of opportunities to see local emergency services going about their work.
He said: “At the end of my shift, which was brief compared to those the medical teams work, I left the hospital feeling completely drained but with my admiration for the work they do raised to the highest level.
“The purpose of my visit was to talk to people – patients and staff – to help give me a better understanding of a hospital visit, which can not unnaturally be a traumatic experience, as well as seeing for myself the pressures our medical staff work under.
“It was an invaluable experience and I hope that more of my House of Commons colleagues will follow my example.”
Mr Lavery added that he was particularly impressed at some of the innovations being tried to improve conditions for people attending hospital.