Lancaster was promised a new hospital four years ago, as the Victorian buildings and infrastructure at the infirmary buckles under the pressure of high demand and high maintenance costs. This week during questions to the Health Secretary I had the opportunity to raise my recent experience taking my poorly little boy to A&E at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. There were people waiting on stretchers in corridors for hours in pain, the waiting room was packed, and staff were rushed of their feet. One nurse shared with me her anger at the lack of space they have in A&E, having been promised a new hospital four years ago. She went on to tell me how forgotten staff at the RLI feel.
I put this to the Secretary of State, asking whether the Government have in fact forgotten about our new hospital. With record NHS waiting lists and job vacancies causing misery for patients and burned-out NHS workers, it’s beyond frustrating that the sixth Health Secretary in 5 years tells me she will “look into this”, as if it was her first time hearing about it – only confirming suspicions that our new hospital may well have been forgotten about.
Funding for the rebuild of the Royal Lancaster Infirmary has been delayed four times now. In May last year, the BBC reported that building work was yet to start for 33 of the 40 hospitals that were promised by the Government back in 2019. Given the Conservatives’ record, I’m worried that this four-year waiting list we’re all on for a new hospital is not getting any closer to actually being delivered.
We know that the so called “New Hospitals Programme”, a flagship Government policy, was a stitch-up from the get-go as the Conservatives classed a lick of paint as a “new hospital”, but for those major projects like ours which were promised we should be much further on in this process.
This is a real-life example of how the internal chaos in the Conservative party and revolving door of Prime Ministers and Government Ministers is failing to deliver the positive change that residents across the Lancaster and Wyre area deserve.
I have raised this with several health ministers and even the Prime Minister at Prime Minister’s Questions, so it is beyond belief that this is so far down the political agenda for the Government that they should need to go away and ‘look into this’. Patients, their families and the future of the NHS should be the Government’s priority. I will always fight for our NHS, and for communities across North Lancashire to get what they were promised.