Lancashire hospital boss calls for a conversation about the future of healthcare

  • Video report by ITV Granada Reports Correspondent Andy Bonner

A hospital boss is calling for a conversation about the future of healthcare, as the NHS prepares to mark its 75th anniversary.

Kevin McGee, who heads Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, admits the service is under strain from staff shortages, the backlog from Covid and continuing strikes.

He says the answer lies in keeping people healthy and out of hospital in the first place.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provides specialist services for 1.8m people across Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Built nearly 50 years ago, the Royal Preston Hospital treats thousands of people every year but as staff prepare to mark 75 years of the NHS, it's not just patients getting a health check.

The Trust provides specialist services for 1.8m people across Lancashire and South Cumbria Credit: ITV Granada

The Emergency Department in Preston has seen many changes for the better but waiting times still fail to achieve targets.

Dr Michael Stewart ED Consultant said: "Sadly it's not unusual to see staff members in tears at the end of the shift because they know they could have done better and the level of pressure on the system just doesn't let them look after patients as well as they want to."

Megan Hayhurst is going through treatment for cancer Credit: ITV Granada

Patient Meghan Hayhurst has just finished her last radiotherapy session. She's grateful to the NHS for the care she's received.

Megan said: "Some of the prescriptions that I have had are like £500 at a time and I have them every other month. It's crazy to think that kind of money is being spent on little old me from Rossendale. That's a lot of money to spend on a person.

"So it has been amazing to know that this sort of failsafe is here for people like me because I'd just never planned on getting cancer at 28.

"That's not something I budgeted for in my life. So yeah, it's been amazing to have this here. I can't thank the NHS enough to be honest."

When asked if the NHS was heading for privatisation, Consultant Dr Martin Hogg from Rosemere Cancer said: "I hope it doesn't.

"I'm sometimes lucky enough to go to America for meetings and the discussion about treatment access is so, so critical and so many people don't get access to the better quality treatments.

"The NHS provides a really high degree of care for everyone and that is really, really important and that's why I turn up for work every day."

Whatever happens next, the one certainty is the NHS will continue to change, as it tries to meet the country's healthcare needs of the future.

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