Last week I got to be a studio guest on Radio DGH, a wonderful charity currently broadcasting across the wards of our hospital and soon to go online.
In the wake of special measures for the hospital trust last year, I’ve stepped in regularly and spent time with frontline medical teams in A & E, maternity, cancer and support teams in the chaplaincy, in catering and records.
I was honoured to be on the staff awards panel and have even held one of my own ‘surgeries’ in the café! No blood required.
I speak, often, with the new chief executive and was very pleased when one of the first things he did was to join me in the Arndale Centre to meet people.
Winning back public trust and confidence is important work.
The hospital trust will be undergo a follow-up CQC inspection in the next days and weeks and it is my earnest hope that inspectors find the same wonderful care that was the saving grace of the last inspection but now also green shoots of change, particularly around the reported bullying culture.
I’ve made our hospital a top priority for me as the Member of Parliament - I know from knocking on front doors by the thousands just how important it is but truth be told - as I described it on Radio DGH – I’m a ‘frequent flyer’!
I love the ladies on reception and every time I’m there I’m struck by what a world within a world it is - always bustling, on alert and populated by a striking mix of people.
Like you I imagine, I’ve had every kind of life experience there too.
Sad to say, December 31 1999, just hours before the Millennium, my dear Dad passed away at the DGH... and two, three and five years later, I left the same hospital, with joy and a babe in arms.
Other memorable moments over the years would probably have to include a classic election day special in A&E, with my son, and a lego brick-up-nose incident – children are no respecters of time and place!
Anyone who knows me and my story will know the debt of gratitude I carry for the NHS.
So whatever is ahead, be it CQC inspections or STP plans, I will campaign to get the services we all need, and when it comes to the DGH – I’ve got form!