I really do have one of the best jobs in the world. I have been away for most of the past 10 days. Driving into the hospital on Tuesday morning felt like returning home after a long journey.
Spring is certainly here, the hospital gardens look amazing. Thank you to our team of gardeners who volunteer their services throughout the year to ensure that our patients, visitors and staff can enjoy the gardens.
Although I have kept in touch by phone and email and, of course, Twitter, there is nothing quite like walking around the hospital, chatting to staff and patients. Liverpool Women’s really is an amazing place.
Some of you may have seen an article in last week’s Liverpool Echo regarding the issues that Liverpool Women’s has been lobbying about for some years with regard to the payment system for maternity services. Our first priority at Liverpool Women’s is and always has been the safety of our patients. The Department of Health and NHS England will in April publish their response into the recent Public Accounts Committee Report on Maternity Services in England which echoed the issues we have been raising for some years. Let's hope the published response will make some meaningful adjustments to support high quality maternity services.
I have returned to some important meetings with Monitor, our regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts, and Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group who primarily fund the services at Liverpool Women's Hospital.
I received a lovely letter while I was away from a couple from Stafford who had been referred to our services for specialist treatment. Several years ago they had suffered the loss of their daughter and they said that despite that being a horrible and devastating time, the care and compassion they received was fantastic and helped to get them through that difficult time. They have this time returned home with a healthy baby boy. Once again they received care that they describe as truly amazing and that they were cared for by some exceptional people.
I am sure some of you will have seen in the local media and through Twitter the personal cancer journey of one of our patients, Rose. Rose was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and has been supporting awareness raising with the help and encouragement of her husband David. I had the pleasure of meeting with them on Tuesday when Rose underwent her final chemotherapy session at Liverpool Women's. A remarkable couple.
Also this week we relaunched our private care facility, which we've renamed The Catharine Medical Centre. I've been quoted in several media outlets as saying that I absolutely believe in the NHS being free to all and will fight to protect this. The income that we hope to generate from The Catharine Medical Centre will be reinvested into our NHS services in order to continue to make this a reality. The facilities up on the centre are absolutely first class; I'd recommend taking a look at the new website dedicated to the centre for an idea of the services on offer: http://www.thecatharinemedicalcentre.org.uk/