Barnoldswick & Earby Time, Colne Times and Nelson Leader Column: Friday 7th December 2018

Column 07/12/2018

Last Friday, I was delighted to join a number of other East Lancashire MPs to visit the site of the £15.6 million new Phase 8 development at Burnley General Hospital, at the invitation of the East Lancashire NHS Hospitals Trust.

Burnley General is the closest hospital for most Pendle residents. Ensuring it receives investment to improve its existing services and develop new ones is a key priority for me.

The Phase 8 development will see three new facilities. Patients now have access to a new 21 room Outpatients Department with specialist facilities not currently available. A new maxillofacial unit, for problems affecting people’s jaws, will come with its own lab and minor procedures theatre.

There will also be a new Ophthalmology Centre for patients with problems with their eyes. This will have two theatres, eight clinic rooms, a laser room and a dedicated injection room.

All this is part of a £60 million investment plan by the Hospitals Trust, and made possible due to government funding that I fought hard for. It was great to see the former Burnley MP, Gordon Birtwistle, at the site visit. I worked closely with Gordon back in 2015 to secure the funding for this major investment.

We have already seen other big investments in the hospital. This includes the £9 million Urgent Care Centre that goes at least some way towards restoring the services that were lost when the A&E was downgraded under Labour in 2007, a move that continues to limit the health services available locally. I was also at the hospital almost exactly a year ago for the official opening of the new £750,000 chemotherapy Suite and breast care facility, following an incredible fundraising campaign from the Rosemere Cancer Foundation.

There is still a long way to go to make sure Pendle has the NHS services it needs. However, with record increases in NHS funding nationally and under high-quality local leadership, there is good cause for optimism. As Kevin McGee, the East Lancashire Hospital Trust’s Chief Executive has said, for Burnley General, “These are exciting times”.