Having pride in Newham General

East Ham MP Steve Timms takes a look at future health provision FOR many, it is a point of pride to have been born in Newham General Hospital. A rap group of some repute has gone as far as to name themselves The Newham Generals in its honour! I shall n

East Ham MP Steve Timms takes a look at future health provision

FOR many, it is a point of pride to have been born in Newham General Hospital.

A rap group of some repute has gone as far as to name themselves The Newham Generals in its honour!

I shall not pass judgement on the quality of the music, of course, but it is a mark of the place the hospital has in the hearts of some.


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Soon, more people will be able to feel proud to be a Newham General baby.

Last Friday, I knocked out the symbolic first brick for an expansion of maternity services at the site. The new unit - a redevelopment of existing space in the hospital, plus a small new extension - should be ready in two years, at a cost of �17.5 million.

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Recognising a rapidly increasing number of births in Newham, the expansion will allow Newham mothers for years to come to give birth in dignified, private and good quality facilities.

The new unit will have its own external entrance. It will be on two floors, with an internal lift between them so that it will no longer be necessary for mothers moving within the unit to go outside into the hospital corridor.

A year ago I wrote about the hospital after its annual Health Check. The maternity services were noted as needing special attention.

This year's review reported a trend of improvement, with the trust rated Good for services and Excellent according to the national priorities.

The changes already made to maternity services were commended. Cases of MRSA and Clostrum Difficile have decreased, and the trust now has a financial surplus instead of a deficit. The review also highlighted areas still needing improvement.

A consultation is under way on the future of the health service throughout North-East London. Anyone with a spare moment should have a look at the proposals and make a response: visit the website, www.healthfornel.nhs.uk, or call the freephone number 0808 238 5416.

The programme aims to deliver the ambitious vision to transform healthcare that was set out by Professor Lord Ara Darzi in his report, A framework for action. Improvements have already started for stroke and trauma services.

It is particularly important that people from Newham contribute. The proposals are generally good news for us in Newham, recognising the strengths and excellent accessibility of Newham General, but cause greater difficulties in other boroughs. We need to make sure Newham voices are heard strongly in the consultation - we don't want to lose out because we haven't made enough noise. The consultation will close next Monday, March 22.

There are more and more reasons to be proud of Newham General. Sustained investment in the fabric of the hospital has led to dramatic physical improvement. Coupled with strong present management, people are also starting to feel the difference in the way they are treated. I hope all of us will begin to feel that it is a service we can be proud to use.

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