Matt Hancock described Doncaster Royal Infirmary as 'knackered' following visit

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Former health secretary Matt Hancock described crumbling Doncaster Royal Infirmary as ‘knackered’ following a visit, it has emerged.

He was given a tour of the Armthorpe Road hospital in January 2020, just ahead of the Covid pandemic lockdown and gave strong hints that the hospital could become one of the Government’s promised new forty hospitals.

However, the hospital was rejected for £1.37billion of funding earlier this year, with proposals for a new city centre building scrapped by the Governnment.

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Since then, the crumbling building has suffered a series of roof collapses and leaks, with nearly 600 urgent repairs needed across the whole hospital estate.

Matt Hancock on his visit to Doncaster Royal Infirmary in January 2020.Matt Hancock on his visit to Doncaster Royal Infirmary in January 2020.
Matt Hancock on his visit to Doncaster Royal Infirmary in January 2020.

In his book, Pandemic Diaries, which chronicles the UK Government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, he wrote: “I went up to Doncaster to visit the Royal Infirmary.

"The building is knackered.

"I dropped heavy hints that it could become one of our forty promised new hospitals.

"I told the local paper (the Free Press) that the new MP Nick Fletcher, has been on my case non-stop about it, which is true.

"A Tory MP in Doncaster? I still find it hard to believe.

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"If we’re going to keep the red wall painted blue, decent hospitals are essential, but they will not materialise unless Rishi Sunak (then the Chief Secretary to the Treasury) is onside.”

During his visit more than three years ago, Mr Hancock met senior figures at the hospital as well as nursesand also stated Doncaster would be high on the list for the 6,000 new GPs his party has pledged to appoint.

Back then, Mr Hancock said: “I’ve looked round the hospital and seen that it is ageing. There is a strong case to be made.

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“Obviously things like this are expensive and there is a lot of work to be done in terms of what needs to happen, but by having these conversations with the leaders at the hospital I can see the strong case about why Doncaster needs to be one of the hospitals we build.

“We made the commitment in the election to the 40 new hospitals, and we have come here for a reason.”