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Minister for Health visits Doncaster Royal Infirmary

The Minister for Health, Edward Argar MP, visited Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI) last week (Tuesday 31 May) to meet with local health professionals and discuss future plans for the NHS.

Met by Jon Sargeant, Deputy Chief Executive of Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH), Dame Rosie Winterton, MP for Doncaster Central, Nick Fletcher, MP for Don Valley, and Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, the Minister of State discussed challenges faced by colleagues throughout the past few years, as well as plans for development within the Women and Children’s Hospital at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and the wider Trust.

At present, colleagues at DBTH are working on a £2.5 million refurbishment of the Central Delivery Suite on the site. The works, which will begin shortly, will include a full refurbishment of DRI’s birthing rooms, as well as the creation of a new reception and waiting area. The delivery suite will also include a fully-equipped Obstetric Observation Area and a triage area. Once complete, this new development will create a ‘Birth Centre’ in Doncaster, which will also allow patients to opt for Midwifery-led care, alongside current Obstetric arrangements.

The Minister was shown around the current Central Delivery Suite (CDC) before works commence, as well as given an insight into the challenges posed by the overall infrastructure of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, as well as wider within DRI, before heading off to the ground floor and the newest part of the building where the service has been temporarily relocated.

As part of a £12.4 million investment, the extension to the rear of the existing Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and where the CDC is now located, contains a modern surgical theatre and related plant room, as well as two inpatient wards. The extension was completed using modern methods of construction (MMC) and cutting edge technology by ModuleCo – with similar techniques employed in the construction of facilities such as university student accommodation, the hotel industry, as well as hospitals about to be built as part of the Government’s new programme.

This area was opened in December 2021, in response to a significant water leak which occurred on the east wing of the building, significantly damaging the electrical infrastructure and, as such, forcing the relocation of some paediatric and maternity services. Since that time it has housed paediatric services, and now it will be the temporary home for the Central Delivery Suite for around six months.

Speaking about the visit, Minister for Health, Edward Argar said: “It was fantastic to join my colleagues Nick Fletcher MP and Dame Rosie Winterton MP, along with the Mayor of Doncaster, to visit Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

“It was a great opportunity to meet some of the dedicated NHS team at the hospital to hear about their work over the past two years, and their plans to recover from the pandemic and bring down waiting lists.

“It was also a chance to see first-hand the estate challenges faced by the hospital, and to hear about proposals to improve their buildings.”

The Minister, as well as MPs and Mayor Jones had the opportunity to speak with Midwives and support workers, listening to their feedback, before departing.

Jon Sargeant, Deputy Chief Executive at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, said: “The past number of years have been incredibly challenging for the Trust, and we are pleased to have had the opportunity to show the Minister for Health around our hospital, highlighting the progress we have made despite difficult times, and the developments we wish to make in the future. More than anything, we have relished the opportunity to underline what an incredible job colleagues have done throughout the pandemic, and we are confident they will continue to do as we move, hopefully, beyond COVID-19.”

As one of Yorkshire’s leading acute trusts, DBTH serves a population of more than 440,000 across South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire and the surrounding areas. Employing over 6,600 people across three main hospital sites, the Trust is one of only a handful of teaching hospitals in Yorkshire, training 25% of all medical students in the region as well as 30% of all other clinical professions.

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