Shadow Chancellor and Shadow Health Secretary visits Leeds Teaching Hospitals
24 June 2022
Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves MP and Shadow Health Secretary, Wes Streeting MP visited Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust this week to see the development of two new hospitals at the Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).
The two MPs heard about the two new hospitals planned to be built on the LGI site and the new pathology laboratory already under construction at St James University Hospital (SJUH) and the vital role they will play in transforming care across the Leeds City Region and beyond.
Preparation of the land, which will become the new home of Leeds Children’s Hospital as well as a new hospital for adults is complete, and the Trust is continuing to work with the Government’s New Hospitals Programme (NHP) to align their timescales and seek further clarity on a confirmed delivery timetable.
During the visit, Ms Reeves and Mr Streeting were also introduced to some of the Trust’s clinicians that are trialling innovative and new technologies through the Trust’s onsite Innovation Pop Up at the LGI. The Innovation Pop Up brings together clinicians and entrepreneurs to transform the latest advances in science, technology and engineering into products and services that can solve health and care challenges facing Britain and the rest of the world. It is also the first phase in establishing an Innovation Village in the five hectares of land that will be unlocked as part of the new hospital development, which will be one of the four neighbourhoods in the Leeds Innovation Arc.
Neurosurgeon, Dr Will Bolton together with biomedical scientist, Dildar Singh Rathore, presented live demonstrations of some of the health technologies the Trust is working with. These included a virtual reality headset that creates a 3D image of the brain for clinicians to view and interact with which is being trialled at Leeds Teaching Hospitals. It can also help with early detection of brain tumours.
The visitors also met with staff and patients in two wards at the LGI. Staff in the hospital’s Emergency Department spoke about their leading ambulance handover programme which saw the LGI become the best performing hospital across NHS trusts in England in 2021/22, with an average handover of 11 minutes and 3 seconds despite significant challenges in this area across the country.
This is a result of the collaboration between Leeds Teaching Hospitals and Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) to reduce the amount of time it takes for ambulances to hand over patients into the care of the Emergency Department. This means that YAS colleagues are available to return to the community to support more patients who need urgent care fast.
The Labour MPs met with staff on the Adult Neuro Surgical Ward to hear about the work the Trust is doing to improve waiting times for patients and to see first-hand the impact of the new high observation service (HOBS).
Rachel Reeves, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and Labour MP for Leeds West, said: “The new hospitals at the Leeds General Infirmary will be a crucial development for the city region, not only for the significant health and care benefits it will bring but also for the huge role it will play in helping to drive economic growth for the region through the development of an innovation village.
“I hope to see construction starting here soon so that this vital development can get off the ground.
“It was a real privilege to spend some time meeting with staff at the hospital and to hear about the exceptional work they’ve been doing to ensure everyone is getting timely access to the care they need.”
Shadow Health Secretary, Wes Streeting, said: “It was fantastic to see the collaboration between clinicians and industry experts in the Innovation Pop-up, who are all working together to drive health innovation in the Trust and across Leeds.
“Leeds Teaching Hospitals is one of the busiest acute hospital trusts in the country and it has been really encouraging to see how they are working with new technology to address some of the biggest healthcare challenges of our time.
“It’s clear the Trust desperately needs these new hospitals, they are ready to go, and I hope to see shovels in the ground by the time I’m next here.”
Sir Julian Hartley, Chief Executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: “We were delighted that we could share with Rachel and Wes some of the amazing work our staff do on a day-to-day basis and some of the leading-edge innovations that are changing the face of healthcare now.”