Last month I was lucky enough to spend some time in Hexham hospital, walking the wards with Barry, the head porter. I learnt a lot. Barry has worked in the new and old Hexham Hospital for over 30 years. There is pretty much nothing he does not know about how the hospital works. We spent a late morning, during the Children in Need day, delivering packages, moving blood tests, patients and their records, visiting the post room and the waste bins, and generally doing all the small jobs that make the hospital tick like a Swiss watch. Also with me at the time was a Northumbria NHS Trust representative and we both learnt a lot as to how the hospital works from the bottom up. I am a big supporter of the new Cramlington Emergency Care Centre Hospital that is being built, but as we went round Hexham Barry was able to tell us of the tiny mistakes that were made in the building of Hexham that he would not want to see repeated. None of these are life threatening or serious, they are just niggles, but it would be good if they were not there. For example, the entrance ramp to Hexham for the big lorries is on an unsuitable slope, and the unloading area does not have a differentiated height block to allow for easy unloading. Also the waste bins are kept in an area that is presently outdoors and uncovered, which is not ideal. All these sort of things are rectifiable in the new build at Cramlington.
So I have asked that the Cramlington architect makes a special visit to Hexham to sit down with Barry, and the teams of core workers from the post men to the kitchen staff, to make sure that all the small details are not overlooked.
I also want to make a special mention of the wonderful Elsie, from Prudhoe, who I also met last month. Elsie volunteers as a greeter at Hexham Hospital and does an amazing job of putting people at their ease, when they first walk through the doors of the Hospital, whether as a patient or visiting a loved one. She is truly an unsung hero. It was a privilege to meet them both.