Newbury MP visits West Berkshire Community Hospital to see where government investment is being spent
Newbury’s MP Laura Farris visited the town’s community hospital this week, meeting staff, visiting the renal unit and seeing new radiography equipment.
Mrs Farris was shown around by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Steve McManus on Monday.
She also met with lead radiographer Helen Atkins, who told her about the new kit and the different types of scans it can now perform without patients having to go to Oxford or Reading.
She then caught up with Marion Weaver, the manager of the renal dialysis unit, and her staff.
“Thank you to everyone who took the time to meet and talk with me at West Berkshire Community Hospital,” she said.
“It was a fascinating visit. Helen showed me what the new and very impressive radiography kit can do.
“All the scans it now offers had to previously be undertaken at John Radcliffe in Oxford or at the Royal Berkshire in Reading but can now be done here in Newbury.
“It could do anything from a spine scan to a dental scan and it was amazing to see it in operation.
“This is just one of several exciting new developments to the community hospital with the MRI scanning centres opening later this year.
“This means problems can now be diagnosed here and doctors can start the patients down the pathway to treatment quickly and in a much more accessible way.
“And I am delighted that the West Berkshire hospital has been chosen by the Government as one of 40 diagnostic centres across the country.”
Mrs Farris added that the visit to the renal unit was something very close to her heart because her father had kidney failure and underwent dialysis for a decade.
In parliament, she chairs the all-party parliamentary group on kidney care to improve outcomes for patients with kidney failure.
“I know a lot about this and it was impressive to see dialysis delivered in a modern environment and also see the really efficient and very pleasant unit they have created here for people from Newbury, Thatcham, even Tilehurst, to come and have renal dialysis three times a week,” she said.
Patients at the community hospital have benefited from enhanced health testing services thanks to a £3m Government cash injection for facilities, equipment and staff to support an expansion of diagnostic services at the 40 hospitals.
Mr McManus said: “Our team at West Berkshire Community Hospital were delighted to show Laura around the diagnostic services suite.
“The £1.5m investment into some really special digital equipment means we can deliver really outstanding care and treatment to local people and is part of our commitment to provide care closer to people’s homes.
“The suite includes two digital x-ray machines and a CT scanner. There is also a new dental x-ray room with a Cone Beam CT scanner which is used for complex cases and gives us better quality images for things like orthodontics and dental.
“The scanner uses half the radiation compared with other scanners which makes it safer for children which is another bonus of this new kit. We’re very grateful for the funding from the National Community Diagnostic Centre programme.
“Her visit also included a meeting with our renal dialysis team and she was very impressed with the facilities available and the expertise of the staff in this vital area of work.”