Flick In The Media: Hampshire Chronicle

Hospital consultant's work-life transformed in lockdown thanks to MP


MEON Valley MP Flick Drummond has thanked BT Openreach for “pulling out all the stops” in installing superfast broadband for a senior hospital consultant working to procure ventilators.

Max Jonas, an ICU consultant at Southampton General Hospital, could not properly take part in crucial remote Covid-19 meetings with the Department for Health and the Cabinet Office because of slow broadband speed while he is working from his Swanmore home.

The medic is part of the UK-wide Ventilator Clinical Working Group and contacted the MP desperate for help as he is having to work from home during lockdown.

She contacted Openreach and explained the importance of Dr Jonas’s work. The company has now installed a full fibre connection called Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) at his home.

“I would like to thank Openreach for pulling out all the stops to make sure Dr Jonas now has superfast broadband and he can concentrate on his immensely important strategic work on ventilator procurement and intensive care bed capacity for the NHS. Initially, Openreach were slow to react but once it understood the importance, a solution was found and installed at speed.

“In this case it’s a positive outcome but I am very conscious there are other keyworkers I am working with on this very same issue, who may not receive such a good result. There are also many other Meon Valley residents still waiting for a decent broadband connection to their homes all over the constituency.

“The good news is the Government has committed to investing in better broadband in rural and hard to reach locations over the next five years, but I will continue to champion my constituents’ needs on this issue, whoever they are, to ensure they receive it as soon as possible.”

Dr Jonas added: “I would like to thank Flick for her help and also for all the work she has put in, which has led to a connection which is now over 100 times faster than the original one. I would also like to thank Openreach for swinging into action when it was most needed. The Openreach engineers Luke and Tom were incredibly professional.”

“The situation was becoming desperate as I had been isolated at home and was attempting join remote meetings in Whitehall but, with such slow speeds, I was unable to see colleagues, slides or plans, which was incredibly frustrating for both myself and for my colleagues working at the other end who had to keep repeating themselves. I frequently had to follow-up the meeting with a phone call to find out what I had missed whilst the internet was buffering!”

“Now the situation is transformed, although we have a trench across our lawn where the fibre is buried which I will have to develop my gardening skills to camouflage.”