Rishi has praised the work of a charity which supports Northallerton’s Friarage Hospital.
He said The Friends of the Friarage was “hugely impressive” organisation in the way it provided help to staff, patients and the hospital’s services.
Speaking at the charity’s annual general meeting held at Romanby Golf Cub, Rishi said the Friends continued to play a vital role in supporting the hospital and providing a focal point for the local community’s desire to help.
“We know how well loved the Friarage Hospital is and the tremendous work of the Friends is the best example of how our community rallies round to support it.
He added: “On behalf of the local community I want to thank everyone associated with the organisation which has been there, fighting for the hospital for more than 60 years.”
Rishi presented bouquets to Shirley Donaldson, who was standing down as the charity’s president and a trustee, and to Donna Jermyn, who completed a three-year stint as chairman in 2020.
After hearing senior Friarage and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust consultant James Dunbar outline the developments at the hospital over the last year and the plans for the future, Rishi said: “This is a very exciting time for the hospital.
“We have seen new services introduced in the last 18 months with the help of the Friends which mean more patients being treated there and fewer journeys to James Cook for North Yorkshire patients.
“A new diagnostics centre and the planned development of a new theatre block holds out the promise of that process being continued in the next few years.”
He added that he was particularly pleased that medical students from the expanded Hull York Medical School and other healthcare trainees were once more being based at the Friarage. This was important for future recruitment of qualified staff.
The opening of the hospital’s STRIVE academic centre, to which the Friends contributed £400,000, in July this year, would help enormously in ensuring medical students had a positive training experience at the Friarage, Mr Sunak added.
Thanking Rishi for being guest speaker, Friends co-chair Susan Watson presented him with a Friends of the Friarage hoodie sporting the charity’s new branding.