It was a great pleasure to welcome Lord Nick Markham CBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health to the hospital as part of a south west tour of hospitals with projects that are part of the national New Hospital Programme.
His visit to the Royal Cornwall Hospital underlined the Government’s commitment to our new Women and Children’s Hospital, scheduled to open in 2028.
The Health Minister heard from staff about how the Women and Children’s Hospital will bring together services, including maternity, neonatal, paediatric, and obstetric and gynaecology, all in one building – allowing teams to work more closely together and be co-located with other key facilities, such as the hospital’s main theatres.
Lord Markham also heard about RCHT’s digital transformation plan which will be at the heart of patient care and safety, including a new electronic patient record system and becoming a UK pilot site for what is known as ‘the silent hospital’ – a project that will transform the ward environment by cutting out the need for audible call bells and alarms.
Alongside a series of roundtable conversations with staff, local health leaders, patient representatives, local MPs and Cornwall councillors, Lord Markham also took time to visit the new MRI and Oncology unit, seeing first hand the high standard of build that RCHT, along with construction partner BAM UK & Ireland, aims to achieve in the new Women and Children’s Hospital.
A strong advocate of affordable housing, Lord Markham was also impressed by plans being considered to develop key worker housing on the Royal Cornwall Hospital site, something it is hoped can be made easier through future changes to planning legislation.