Health Minister visits James Paget Hospital and planned East Coast Hospice site
10:19 01 February 2013
(C) Archant Norfolk 2013
Health Minister Norman Lamb visited the James Paget University Hospital (JPH) and the future East Coast Hospice site to hear how the borough will cope with growing healthcare pressures.
Care and Support Minister Mr Lamb visited the planned East Coast Hospice site in Hopton to hear from trustees, who are trying to raise £4m to build the 10-bedroom hospice.
Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis, welcomed him to land off Sidegate Road where he was guided through the plans.
After a tour of the site where the hospice will be built, the minister met a delegation of trustees and MPs including David Nettleship, chief executive of East Coast Hospice, Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis, who is also communities minister, Waveney MP Peter Aldous and Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey.
Mr Lewis said: “I would like to thank the minister for taking the time to come and visit the East Coast Hospice site.
“As a local MP, he knows the amount of hard work that has gone into getting the project off the ground.
“The difference that the hospice will make to local people should not be underestimated and his visit today is a recognition by the government of the importance of schemes such as this across the UK.”
Mr Aldous added: “It’s great news that Palliative Care East has opened as it has an important role to play in end-of-life care.
“Its opening is a great tribute to all those who have contributed so generously to its provision.
“There remains a shortage of hospice beds in Waveney and Great Yarmouth as evidenced by the fact that 1pc of people in the area end their life in hospices compared to 5.2pc in England as a whole.
“It is important that support and guidance is provided to East Coast Hospice to help them address this shortcoming.”
Mr Lamb MP also made a whistle-stop visit to the JPH and the newly-built £1.5m Louise Hamilton Centre, which offers support to those with life-limiting conditions.
The minister met with hospital chairman David Wright, vice-chairman Peter Franzen and chief executive David Hill to hear how the hospital is continuing to improve performance, delivering good patient care and also planning for the future.
He also visited the accident and emergency (A&E) department where he chatted with staff about the challenges of a very busy A&E which treats more than 65,000 patients a year.
Despite an increase in emergency medical admissions in the year to date, bosses say the four hour waiting time target of 95pc has been met consistently since April 2012.
Mr Lamb then went on an exclusive tour of the Louise Hamilton Centre which is due to open February/March.
Chairman Mr Wright said: “We are grateful to the minister for taking the time to visit the trust. Friday’s visit was a great opportunity to update Mr Lamb on the turnaround in performance during 2012 and to highlight future developments such as the new day case unit and upgrade to our operating theatres and the opening of the Louise Hamilton Centre.”