MP discusses getting back to normal with local NHS chief

Andrew Jones MP met with the new acting Chief Executive of the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust (HDFT), Jonathan Coulter, on Tuesday to discuss catching up elective care and visiting arrangements at Harrogate Hospital.

HDFT continued with elective care throughout the pandemic which was not the case in many other trusts. This has meant the overall waiting list for elective care has risen by 6,000 since early 2020 thanks to the efforts of staff across the trust. The trust is also working closely with North Yorkshire County Council to ensure those who are medically fit to be discharged are found the care they need in the community to free up beds.

Several constituents had also contacted Mr Jones regarding the hospital’s ban on routine visiting which had been in place since just before Christmas. Mr Coulter confirmed that visiting restrictions would be eased on 8 March where a booking system will come into effect. HDTF has put more information on the relaxation of the rules on its website here.

Commenting on this Mr Jones said:

‘Throughout the pandemic, in hospitals and other settings such as care homes, a real challenge has been to balance the need to protect those vulnerable to the virus while also taking into account the mental wellbeing of those individuals and those who wish to visit them. I am pleased to see the visiting rules relaxed which I am sure will be a boost to patients and their family and friends.’

Mr Jones and Mr Coulter also discussed the hospital’s ongoing work to reduce its carbon footprint and lower its running costs. The hospital is implementing several schemes, including installing heat pumps to replace gas boilers, which in total will lower its emissions by 25 per cent. Mr Jones accepted Mr Coulter’s invitation to visit the hospital when the work is complete to see the benefits realised in terms of energy efficiency and freeing up vital NHS cash to put back into frontline services.