I was glad to have a visit to Finchley Memorial Hospital, with some members of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Cllr Alison Cornelius, Cllr Graham Old, Cllr Andrew Harper and Cllr Julie Johnson accompanied me. There were some issues of concern, which the committee will hope to raise. Firstly that 20 beds at the hospital are currently unused.
I am particularly concerned about some of the environmental aspects of the building, such as the lack of direct bus access, that the nearest bus stop was caked in mud and water when I visited, that there is no direct access to the bus stop on Finchley High Road, that the car parking signage isn't clear, that the internal signage isn't clear and that there are no covered walkways, despite the entrance to the hospital being a large distance from the entrance to the site.
I was also concerned to see the GP centre is still not up and running, and that the costs are high. I can see why the costs are so high just from the light fittings in the hospital, some of which you might expect to have to fill out a risk assessment form just to change. They are also not meeting their target stay times.
There was also much that was positive, the building is extraordinarily clean and light, with large open spaces. The ward rooms are spacious and comfortable. The equipment and services provided there will see this hospital become areal quality leader, mush as Edgware is. I was pleased to see the recovery centre small gym, designed to help people make their first steps to recoveries from falls. There is also a gym for more intense care that may be required. As a former carer for a terminal cancer patient, I look forward to the new invision suite. It is very clean and will have top notch technology. I also hope they will be able to get the pharmacy up and running soon,even if there is no GPs there yet.
Best of all is a recovery suite which is designed to help integrate people back into home life, so it has an attached kitchen and bathroom with various different setups, to help everyone prepare for going home, no matter what cookers or showers they have. Truly revolutionary, and a statement of what is great about the NHS. I was very impressed by this.
So all in all this has the makings of a great local hospital, and the problems raised can be overcome and dealt with. It helps to have a knowledgeable, well trained, helpful and caring staff. Full marks to them.