Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP has given a video interview to The Sleaford Standard on visiting the town to lend his support to the new Tory candidate in the Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election.
Mr Hunt was also paying a visit to meet staff and children at Ash Villa Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service inpatient unit in Greylees later today (Friday) and stopped off to meet newly selected Conservative candidate Dr Caroline Johnson, who actually works under him in the health service as a consultant paediatrician at Peterborough.
Married to a farmer, she lives in nearby Sudbrook and was going out on the campaign trail with Mr Hunt.
Commenting on the current situation with Grantham A and E being temporarily closed at nights for another three months, he said he had met a delegation of people from the area with Grantham and Stamford MP Nick Boles over the matter and understood the difficulties of poor roads causing travel delays to Lincoln A and E and assured it was only a temporary measure: “We are absolutely committed to ensuring that everyone can access the emergency care they need as fast as possible - it isn’t always about having a hospital near you, it is about getting to the right care and sometimes it makes sense to go further if you can get specialist stroke care, for example, but it (Grantham A and E) is a matter for the local trust.”
On the Lincolnshire Health and Care countywide strategic review of services in the county which is suggesting possible centralisation and specialisation of services such as maternity in single centres such as Lincoln and Boston hospitals he said that was up to discussions between local health professionals but wanted to make sure resources were used as efficiently as possible to continue improving care, adding: “Patient safety always comes first and that is something I personally champion. That is a challenge when demand for the health service has gone up and some places may struggle to get the doctors and nurses they need.”
At Ash Villa later, the Secretary of State was given a tour of the unit by one of the young patients and then participated in art activity with young people, according to a spokesman for the Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation NHS Trust which runs the unit.
He also met with Trust senior leaders and Ash Villa staff. He also met Petra – Ash Villa’s resident therapy pet dog.