Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond has taken a trip down memory to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital’s maternity unit where three of her four children were born.
Flick met with Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust chief executive Alex Whitfield on Friday to discuss progress with plans for a new hospital at junction 7 of the M3.
But the MP also went to Florence Portal House, where 180 babies are born each month, and she discussed developments in maternity care with the team and the importance of training more midwives.
She was pleased to learn the RHCH is currently at full establishment of midwives and is linking with other hospitals in Hampshire to coordinate maternity care.
Subject to final NHS approval and public consultation, Flick was told the new hospital will be built with £800m of government money with investment also happening at RHCH to update its facilities.
Winchester will retain urgent care facilities in addition to the new general hospital.
Alex explained there are very few single rooms available at Winchester, limited by design of buildings some of which are Victorian. But the new facility will be 100% single rooms for in-patients
“Thank you to Alex for escorting me around the RHCH – a much loved hospital and one with some very fond memories for me especially Florence Portal House,” said Flick.
“It really was very quiet in there – much quieter than I remembered - but then again that is probably due to the reason I was there back then.
“It was also important for me to be given an update on the new hospital plans. I support a new state-of-the-art hospital at junction 7. It is important our health services have the very best, with single rooms, ample parking, top technology, modern facilities and better working conditions for staff.
“But Alex was also clear the RHCH will continue to have an important health role in our community after the new hospital is built and that is reassuring for my Meon Valley constituents and for the people of Winchester who will benefit from the RHCH and the new hospital.”
Flick also visited the Winchester Hospice on the RHCH site which is funded partly by the NHS and partly by charitable donations.
The hospice has 10 beds and supports patients and their families as in-patients and through community care in their own home.