I know how important the Friarage hospital is to everyone in the constituency so I wanted to visit the team there as soon as possible. I grew up in an NHS household (my dad is a GP and my mum a local chemist) and also have two young children, so I know first-hand how vital good quality, convenient healthcare is to a local community.
I met with Friarage leadership and was delighted to hear their positive vision for the future of the hospital. I was assured that there are no plans to close the hospital at all, and in fact the NHS executives want the Friarage to be a beacon of rural healthcare. The hospital will be actively engaging the community in various ways over the coming months as it looks to future development.
I also met with Dr Upendra Somasundram from the Friends of the Friarage charity. Their key goal currently is to raise money for a new MRI scanner. £1m has been raised and a further £1m is required. I look forward to contributing to the fundraising in the future.
Many people express a concern to me about this new MRI scanner – I pressed the hospital leadership and was assured that the new scanner will come straight to the Friarage and will not be sent to the James Cook. Once installed the scanner will mean that hundreds of patients will be able to get quicker diagnoses and not have to travel to far away hospitals for their scans.