Sick children won't move between Bassetlaw and Doncaster hospitals under new plans

The future of the children's ward at Bassetlaw General Hospital would be secured under new investment plans revealed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock today (November 22).

The Worksop hospital ward has struggled in the past to hire paediatric nurses and staff, and for about three years the ward has been shut between 7pm and 8am, seven days a week - forcing the hospital trust to spend £14,000 a month transferring its patients to Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock speaking to your Guardian at Bassetlaw Hospital.

Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock speaking to your Guardian at Bassetlaw Hospital.

In a report by your Guardian in January 2019, it was revealed that an average of 11 children per week had been sent to hospital in Doncaster since the closure, where there is a 24-hour paediatric ward.

But under a new Conservative announcement made at the hospital by Mr Hancock, some of a £14.9 million investment would be spent fixing up the exterior of the Bassetlaw hospital, and with it, the children's ward will be moved right next to the Emergency Department.

This will mean the ward will have access to nursing staff who work on the emergency ward and will protect Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust from having to transfer the vulnerable children between sites.

Speaking on a visit to the hospital with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Hancock said: "The £14.9 million we are investing will specifically address the problem of children moving to Doncaster as often as they are.

Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock speaking with your Guardian at Bassetlaw Hospital.

Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock speaking with your Guardian at Bassetlaw Hospital.

"It will move the children's ward next to the A&E so fewer children will have to go to Doncaster and their needs can be met right here in Bassetlaw.

"The concerns raised about the children's ward will be specifically addressed in this as a commitment."

Lord John Mann, the former Labour MP for Bassetlaw, was with Mr Hancock and Mr Johnson at the Bassetlaw visit and said it is a "huge win" for the hospital.

Now he wants "the same commitment" from all the other main political parties.

Boris Johnson at Bassetlaw Hospital.

Boris Johnson at Bassetlaw Hospital.

He said: "This was one of the issues that I really wanted addressing before I left office, because it is something that matters so much to our community.

"It is a huge win for Bassetlaw and it's something our community has campaigned for and fought for, for a very long time.

"Supporting the children's hospital is now a guarantee from the current government, who are ahead in the polls, but now I would like this to be guaranteed by the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats.

"I've already spoken to Jonathan Ashworth at Labour and I'll be talking to the Lib Dems too, and if we can get this then we are guaranteed.

Boris Johnson speaking with your Guardian at Bassetlaw Hospital.

Boris Johnson speaking with your Guardian at Bassetlaw Hospital.

"This is huge for the community, it's been the biggest community campaign and it saves this hospital and the children's ward at least for the next ten years.

"If this money comes through then the children aren't going to have to travel to Doncaster anymore.

"It's a the credit of the people of Worksop and Bassetlaw and the Worksop Guardian, who have all played a key role in making this happen."

Boris Johnson added: "Talking to the nurses here at Bassetlaw Hospital as I just have, it's clear they do an absolutely amazing job. But the pressures are very grave.

"That's why we're putting £34 billion into the NHS, it's biggest ever cash boost. But that's also why we're not in favour of a four-day working week.

"The problems on the children's ward are the problems and the pressures felt across the NHS, and they're not going to get better with a four-day working week."