'Strong case' for new hospital in Doncaster, says health secretary Matt Hancock

Health secretary Matt Hancock spent this afternoon at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and admitted: “There is a strong case for a new Doncaster hospital.”

Mr Hancock met senior figures at the hospital as well as nurses during his visit this afternoon, and also stated Doncaster would be high on the list for the 6,000 new GPs his party has pledged to appoint.

Parts of the Doncaster Royal Infirmary date back to the 1930s, and it has been estimated it has a backlog of urgent repairs running into a cost of around £50 million. Bosses are concerned that the infrastructure is unable to cope with modern demands for things like power.

Asked by the Free Press if the government would build a new hospital in Doncaster, Mr Hancock replied: “Nick Fletcher, the new MP in Doncaster, has been on my case since he has been an MP, for a month now, and has made the case incredibly strongly. I’ve looked round the hospital and seen that it is ageing, and that there are some parts dating back to the 1930s. There is a strong case to be made.

Health secretary Matt Hancock at the Doncaster Royal Infirmary. He is pictured with Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher and Doncaster Council Conservative group leader Jane Cox

“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 today, 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. We have already committted to upgrade the A&E at Bassetlaw Hospital and that is being taken forward.

“I have also met nursing students, and we are going to bring in 50,000 more nurses, and re-introduce the nursing bursary to attract more students. It was great to meet some of the students that are training in Doncaster, and the nursing bursary will come in in September 2020. We want current students to benefit from that.”

He also said Doncaster would be near the top of the list for more GP posts.

“Across the country we are going to have 6,000 more GPs over the next five years and many more clinical staff,“ he said. “People often don’t need to see a GP, but could see a nurse or physio.”

He said there was a need for more GPs to relieve the pressure on A&E, and that he would look at where the main pressure on GPs was.

“Places where there is additional pressure, like Doncaster, should get the support they need.”

He added Doncaster would be high on the list for new GPs over the next five years.

“I am looking all over the country at areas where there are more GPs per head of population and those where there are fewer, and those with fewer are where we need to be putting new ones.

“The dedication of staff at the hospital here in Doncaster is fantastic and was very impressed with the morale and detemination of the staff. I think they are wonderful but they are working in a really old building and there are not enough of them. We need more of them and a better building.”