THE Shadow Health Secretary visited the Conquest Hospital last Thursday (July 4), meeting with patients and staff.
Andy Burnham was joined by shadow health minister Diane Abbott and Liz Kendall, as well as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hastings, Sarah Owen.
The Labour politicians went back to their old jobs for a day of work shadowing at the Conquest on the eve of the NHS’s 65th birthday.
Cllr Michael Wincott, Labour county councillor and former registered nurse, also joined them.
The group spent time at the hospital shadowing staff, meeting patients and serving food on the wards, where they were able to listen to people’s concerns and ideas about the NHS.
The work shadowing was conducted in A&E, maternity, heart and general surgical wards and was led by Alice Webster the the hospital trust’s director of nursing.
Mr Burnham said: “I’m very grateful to the hard-working staff at the Conquest Hospital who hosted us and to the patients we met.
“Their first-hand insights and experience of delivering and receiving NHS services are invaluable and I will be feeding all of what I have heard into Labour’s national health and care policy process.”
Ms Owen, a former healthcare assistant, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to see how much things have changed since I used to work at the Conquest Hospital, but to also hear first-hand from patients about the service they receive and how they want the NHS to continue in the future.”
The hospital visit was followed by a health and care policy event at Sussex Coast College with local NHS staff, doctors, nurses, ambulance workers, carers, St Michael’s Hospice, ARRCC from Rye, Innov8 and patient users from across East Sussex.
All attendees met with the shadow ministers in small groups to talk directly about their experience and share their thoughts.
Dr Hugh Nicholson, a member of the British Medical Association (BMA), who attended the event, said: “I’m very glad that the team came down and actually listened to the people their policies affect, rather than going ahead with changes and cuts that no one asked for.
“It is essential that policy accurately reflects the views of health professionals and service users.”