Victory in sight for new A&E campaign

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Milton Keynes Hospital’s long wait for a new Accident and Emergency department is coming to an end – thanks to the Citizen’s campaign and support from the city’s MPs.

This newspaper launched a campaign earlier this year to highlight the hospital’s need for a new A&E department to cope with the city’s growing size and population.

And with the full support of MPs Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster, the Government could announce details of the £20 million funding required for the new A&E in the coming months.

“I’m confident that we will get major investment for the new A&E,” said Mr Lancaster, MP for Milton Keynes North.

“Being an ever-expanding city, it is absolutely vital that we have an A&E that can cope with the growing population.

“And the great thing that has happened now is that we have all the key health stakeholders who agree that this is something we really must do.

“I think the Department of Health has recognised that as the city continues to expand there needs to be major capital investment here. The key is to try and get that sooner rather than later.”

The Citizen reported in the summer that the hospital’s A&E experienced its busiest week ever in July, dealing with an average of 240 patients each day, compared to a normal day of 200.

The A&E department is on course to deal with more than 70,000 patients this year – around 50,000 more than it was intended to when it was built in the 1980s.

Hospital bosses say they are coping with demand, but a harsh winter could see the record number of patients seen broken again.

In September the Government announced details of a £500m pot to help struggling A&E departments cope with demand this winter and the Milton Keynes health economy was awarded £2.7m.

Mr Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South, said: “That is only for this winter and so we need to prepare for the long- term future.

“We are working with the hospital and other health agencies locally to make the very strongest case we can to secure that investment.

“The new management here, under Joe Harrison’s leadership, have been very good at making what we have more efficient.

“I was out with an ambulance crew recently on a Saturday night, seeing what happens on the ground, and I was very impressed with the professionalism of all the staff – the ambulance crew and doctors and nurses at the hospital.”

A hospital spokesman said: “The hospital continues to work with all local partners to make sure we have an A&E department that not only provides safe, timely care for our patients today, but has adequate capacity to cope with our growing population in the future.

“We are grateful to our MPs for their interest and support.”