Health secretary on new Whipps Cross Hospital and NHS staff retention
- Credit: PA
The health secretary has said he is in "active discussions" on moving the new Whipps Cross Hospital project forward and commented on the issue of retaining NHS staff during a visit to east London.
Steve Barclay told this paper he has spoken to those behind the redevelopment of Whipps Cross, which has been hit by delays.
In June, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported that the redevelopment team had submitted a detailed business case to the government for the building of a multi-storey car park.
The car park is needed to free up land currently used as temporary ground-level parking.
A spokesperson said then: “With the demolition completed, we are in the best possible position to proceed once we’re given the ‘green light’.”
When asked by this paper when the government would give approval to allow construction work to start, Mr Barclay said: "There's some immediate things we can do around enabling works which I'm keen to progress.
"I am in active discussions with colleagues within the department as to how we best take that forward."
Whipps Cross is one of 40 new hospitals pledged to be built under a programme announced by prime minister Boris Johnson in October 2020.
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Mr Barclay added: "In terms of the hospital (Whipps Cross) as a whole, we're liaising closely with the national hospital building programme so that we can leverage the benefits of building at scale so that for a number of hospitals in and around London, we can actually get that delivery moving forward."
The health secretary spoke to this paper during a visit to the Project Surgery in Plaistow.
He also discussed staff retention and recruitment within the NHS, which he called "an important issue".
In April, this paper reported on results from the NHS Staff Survey 2021.
It found only 49.2 per cent of 3,125 respondents from Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust would recommend the trust, which runs Queen's Hospital in Romford and King George Hospital in Goodmayes, as a place to work.
The cost of living crisis has struck since then and Mr Barclay said: "In terms of the wider pay, it's why we've said that we'll accept the recommendations of the independent review body that obviously weighs up the challenges around what is affordable to the country given the wider economic pressures but also some of the pressures staff themselves face."
The move, announced earlier this month, will see NHS staff receive a minimum annual pay rise of £1,400.