James Brokenshire met members of the Outer South East London branch of the Royal College of Nursing on Wednesday to discuss the future of services at Queen Mary’s Hospital.
Queen Mary’s is due to become part of Oxleas Foundation Trust in October, following the dissolution of South London Healthcare. Staff who work at the site have faced disruption and uncertainty over recent years, with ongoing financial difficulties and PFI debts causing the collapse of the old trust.
Nurses sought James’s views on how a sustainable way forward could be secured to protect care for local patients and prevent financial problems returning. James said he hoped a line could now be drawn in the sand, with a brighter future under new ownership illustrated by the development of a radiotherapy unit at Queen Mary’s.
The discussion included how staff could be supported to make the new set up work for the future, promoting research and training to help care for a changing population, and recent difficulties in discharging patients to community settings in Bexley.
James closed the meeting by paying tribute to the work that the RCN had done in setting up a collaborative meeting, saying:
“I was very keen to get a real sense of the thoughts of the nursing community here in Bexley and in South East London.
“The RCN plays an important role, as the NHS evolves, in making sure that the voice of the front line continues to be present and taken seriously.”