On Friday 9 August we were pleased to host Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for Health, on a ministerial visit to Barking Walk-In Centre. The Minister was able to tour the centre and speak to staff and patients about their experience of the service. Julia Lopez, MP for Hornchurch and Upminster, was also in attendance on the visit. Thank you to Kay Bagridge and the team for hosting the visit and making the Minister feel so welcome.
As part of the visit, the Minister also met with staff from NELFT and from BHR Clinical Commissioning Groups to talk about the proposals for a new health and wellbeing hub in Havering. On Monday 5 August the Prime Minister announced that NELFT and BHR CCGs are to benefit from £17 million of funding to take forward plans for a new health and wellbeing centre at the former St George's Hospital site in Hornchurch.
Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for Health, said “It was great to meet so many staff at North East London NHS Foundation Trust, where we are investing £17m in a new health and wellbeing centre for patients in Hornchurch. This is part of the new £850m of funding to upgrade 20 hospitals across the country to improve patient care and save lives, as part of the wider £1.8bn package of funding for the NHS announced by the Government.
“I also had the opportunity to tour the walk-in centre at Barking Community Hospital, where I met some fantastic, inspirational members of staff who are learning new skills, while providing high-quality care, to meet the demands of our modern-day NHS.”
Jane Milligan, Accountable Officer for BHR CCGs, said “This is fantastic news for our local NHS, our patients and the wider public. Securing this funding means we can progress our plans to build the new health and wellbeing centre on the site of St George’s Hospital in Hornchurch – providing much-needed services for our growing population both now and into the future.”
NELFT will be a key provider as part of the new health and wellbeing centre which will offer outpatient based services, GP services and space for local voluntary and community groups. It will focus on older people but will benefit the whole community, acting as base for a joint team of health and social care professionals working across BHR.
Oliver Shanley, Interim Chief Executive for NELFT, said “We are excited to be part of this new development for residents of Havering, delivering a more joined up approach to care locally and collaborating with our partners in the NHS, local authority and voluntary sector to really develop and deliver an asset for the local community. I am looking forward to seeing how the plans progress now the funding has been secured.”