Shadow Secretary impressed with A&E

Matron Jacqui Burnett with Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham
Matron Jacqui Burnett with Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said he was very impressed with the new rapid assessment unit in A&E at Milton Keynes Hospital.

The Labour MP for Leigh, in Greater Manchester, visited the hospital on Thursday, shadowing staff speaking to patients and learning about the pressures facing the A&E department.

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While recognising the challenges in emergency care, he was pleased to see the hospital’s Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit which takes patients who need a quick diagnosis and treatment, but are not likely to need admission to the hospital.

Mr Burnham said: “It is really impressive, I like it a lot. It makes a lot of sense.

“It avoids a longer hospital stay, which is better for everybody. Patients like it and that’s the main thing.”

The new unit is one of a number of improvements being made to emergency care at Milton Keynes Hospital, resulting in patients being seen and treated much more quickly.

Between January and March this year the hospital had some of the longest waiting times in the country.

Cyril Brown, one of the patients being cared for in the unit during Mr Burnham’s visit, said: “It is absolutely brilliant. I’ve had two blood tests, an x-ray, a scan and something else – all done in one day.

“It is a really wonderful experience. Everything about this place is spot on. Wonderful staff, absolutely wonderful.

“There’s tea and coffee - everything has been done for us. It has been like a private hospital. They’ve done a great job.”

Mr Burnham also attended a health forum at the Milton Keynes Community Centre later on Thursday afternoon.

Labour parliamentary spokesman for Milton Keynes, Andrew Pakes added: “It was a great opportunity to invite Andy and his health team to not just visit the hospital but to get a feel for the other health organisations in the city.

“I’m really pleased Andy got to see A&E first hand and learn more about the challenges staff face on a daily basis.”