Mr Hancock was asked to visit the busy hospital, parts of which date back more than 100 years, after its condition was raised by Tory MP for Chingford & Woodford Green, Iain Duncan Smith at Prime Minister’s Questions.
Mr Duncan Smith is in full support of Whipps Cross redevelopment funding bid which has been made for £350 million capital funding for the planned Whipps Cross Hospital redevelopment.
Iain Duncan Smith MP said:
“I was delighted the Health Minister accepted my invitation to visit. As the local MP, part of my commitment to secure a better future for Chingford & Woodford Green is to fully support the building of a new Whipps Cross Hospital and I will continue to support our NHS by working with the government, Council and Whipps Cross to secure the redevelopment of our hospital.”
“This visit was a tremendous opportunity to show why the funding for Whipps Cross is needed and a regional priority for NE London. The Secretary of State, Matt Hancock was able to talk to various department teams during the tour of the hospital and took part in an open staff Q&A session. I would like to thank everyone in involved for the warm welcome we received during our two hour visit.”
Health Minister Matt Hancock, saw for himself how many patients are treated on large wards and how sometimes patients have to be wheeled across an open-air footbridge to and from surgery when a lift breaks down. A new A&E department opened in 2012 and some wards and theatres have been modernised but staff say a new hospital is vital. Only 11 per cent of beds are in single rooms. Modern hospitals have about 30 to 35 per cent. Barts Health NHS Trust wants to redevelop the site to benefit the local community and provide a 21st century healthcare facility to meet the healthcare demands of the local population, as well as, develop over 1,000 new homes, including many NHS keyworker homes.
Mr Hancock told staff: “There is clearly a need for improvement to the estate of this hospital. That is evident to anybody walking around it.”
He said: “We have given Whipps Cross the go-ahead to take their planning for a redevelopment to the next stage. The amount of capital money there is for new hospitals will be in the spending review, but I can see the case for modernisation of Whipps Cross.”