Accompanied by the newly elected MP for Don Valley, Nick Fletcher, the Government Minister visited the site, speaking to nurses and doctors, as well as exploring the Trust’s future ambitions with Richard Parker OBE and Suzy Brain England OBE, the respective Chief Executive and Chair of the Board at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals.
The Health Secretary also took the opportunity to chat with a number of student nurses, apprentices and other developing health professionals during the visit. Speaking to the group of learners, Matt described the importance of the NHS, the excellent opportunities the health service offers to young people and those seeking a career change, as well as the introduction of the nursing maintenance grant for those undertaking a degree in nursing, midwifery or in various allied health professional roles.
Announced in late 2019, students from September 2020 are set to receive a £5,000-per-year grant. Additional payments of up to £3,000 are also available to students in regions or specialisms which are challenging to recruit to, as well as to help cover childcare costs. This year’s deadline for the September intake of health professionals is 15 January.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It’s been great to visit Doncaster to meet the amazing staff who are delivering world class care to more patients than ever before.
“Education is at the heart of everything they do and it’s so positive to hear the enthusiasm from student nurses who will benefit from the £5,000 – £8,000 training grant we’re introducing this September.
“It’s vital NHS services are fit for the 21st century and I am listening closely on the proposals for a new hospital.”
In late November 2019, the Trust received a similar visit from Matt as well as the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, when the pair pledged £14.9 million in funding to Bassetlaw Hospital. This money will be used to reconfigure and refurbish the site’s Emergency Department and reintroduce 24/7 admissions for younger patients.
The Trust is also beginning to explore the possibility of further investment at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, much of which was built in the 1930s and 1960s. Throughout the visit, Richard Parker highlighted the various challenges the aging estate presents to clinicians, as well as describing preliminary plans to redevelop the hospital at a new site closely complimenting the town’s vision to become a university city.
Speaking about the visit, Richard said: “As a Trust, we welcomed the opportunity to show the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care around our hospital, highlighting the fantastic work undertaken by our colleagues, as well as having an open and honest discussion about some of the issues we face working within an aging site.
“Throughout the visit, Matt took the time speak with clinicians, as well as some of our learners. I want to thank everyone who helped to make the day such a success, and also to Matt and his team for taking the time to come to Doncaster.”