Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Frontline View of Progress

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Frontline View of Progress

Article excerpt

Byline: By Craig Thompson

A frontline view of progress

Ministers have given their official seal of approval to health schemes operating across the North East. Craig Thompson finds out how their visit has secured the region's position at the cutting edge of healthcare

Hospitals, health centres, walk-in surgeries and community programmes have been praised by Government chiefs.

The region was picked for the special visit so that ministers could get out of Whitehall and on to the frontline.

During the trip they spent time with patients, looked at the achievements of healthcare in the community and examined multi-million-pound plans to take health services into the future.

But it was at grass-roots level where the ministers got to see the good work going on.

Minister Caroline Flint visited Chopwell Primary School to see how pupils are watching their diet thanks to a special allotment-garden programme.

All 250 pupils have been helping grow vegetables in a specially designed garden adjacent to the school.

Headteacher Bernadette Fellows-Prynne said: "The garden helps the children understand the importance of eating five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

"We have been growing our own produce and now some of the children are taking home and eating what they have grown."

The school also a has an adapted health centre attached to the building, which is available for use by the local community.

Bernadette added: "We are all very proud of what we have achieved at the school. We take pride in taking up these healthy initiatives."

Elsewhere in the area, health minister Rosie Winterton officially opened the Gateshead Walk-in Centre at Bensham which offers quick access to basic NHS services without the need for an appointment.

She took a tour the building, which is on the Bensham Hospital site, viewing the facilities where specially trained nurses provide treatment for minor illnesses and injuries.

The centre was developed by Gateshead Primary Care Trust.

Chief executive, Bob Smith, said: "We are very proud of the Walk-in Centre, which represents a new era in healthcare in the area.

"It gives people, particularly those who find it difficult because of work commitments to get to their GP, the flexibility to receive treatment at a time and place convenient to them.

"By treating minor injuries and illnesses, it should also give those with more serious problems easier access to Accident and Emergency and their GP.

Chief medical officer for the Department of Health, Sir Liam Donaldson, visited Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland's services.

In Morpeth he met with the specialist mother and baby service team at St George's Hospital, where mothers who are experiencing a mental health problem following the birth of their baby are admitted along with their babies. …

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