HEALTH Secretary Matt Hancock praised the work of staff at Colchester Hospital as he made a private visit to the site.

Mr Hancock met staff at the hospital as he was given a tour of the emergency department and the new urgent treatment centre.

He was also shown around the new specialist acute medicine same day emergency care centre.

The centre sees patients who have been referred by their GP, the ambulance service or other hospital departments without the need for them to go to the emergency department.

Its aim is to provide them with care so they can return home the same day reducing unnecessary admissions to wards. It sees around 500 patients a month.

Mr Hancock said: “A brilliant visit here to meet the staff and talk about what is happening to improve the service here in Colchester.

“[It is] a first rate hospital coping with increased demand but doing it in a really smart way so that the patients who have minor problems get treated really quickly and then there is more space for the patients who’ve got really serious problems when they arrive at the emergency department.

“It is all part of our investment in the NHS putting new front end on the hospital so that people can get the service they need.”


Nick Hulme, chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “It was great to welcome the Secretary of State to the hospital where he thanked the staff for their extraordinary work over the winter.

“We were delighted to be able to show him our urgent and emergency departments, including our new urgent treatment centre which provides us with an innovative way of caring for patients with urgent conditions.”

Mr Hancock’s visit came weeks after health watchdog the Care Quality Commission found Colchester Hospital requires improvement. It is the same rating it received at its last inspection in 2017.

Inspectors found safety and how well led the hospital was needed improvement.

NHS statistics also showed patients at the trust waited longer than they should have on 3,690 occasions in December – 17.6 per cent of all attendances.