Delivering the best for NHS
Like most families, mine had its stories of lives cut short and blighted before the creation of the National Health Service.
So I need no encouragement to celebrate the 70th anniversary of one our greatest institutions.
Early in the summer recess I visited the new specialist emergency care hospital at Cramlington, run by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
I am familiar with criticisms of the Northumbria hospital site from constituents.
It is not ideal for transport, there are sometimes long waits, and some people have concerns for the future of other local hospitals, like Rake Lane.
But what I found was one of a new generation of specialist hospitals with all that is needed to deal with the most serious of cases.
It was easy to see how the emergency department brings together all the necessary consultants and specialist teams.
The staff in intensive care and in maternity spoke of how they use the latest equipment and how the purpose-built space allows them to deliver the best of care.
The atmosphere was unexpectedly calm, with staff delivering the highest standards of professional healthcare.
The debate about the NHS often falls back on either reform or investment.
As the government I supported showed, you need both.
You can’t go back in the NHS, but you can apply its founding principles in a modern setting.
Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital delivers the kind of specialist care more associated with teaching hospitals in big cities.
But it’s ours, it’s local, and thanks to its excellent staff, it is literally saving lives that might otherwise be lost.