joined by local Conservative Candidate Justine Greening

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Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley MP and Justine Greening, Conservative candidate for Putney, met with staff and patients at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability, West Hill last Thursday.

The tour was given by Peter Franklyn, Chief Executive and Dr Keith Andrews, Director of the Institute.

The Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability is a charitable trust and this year celebrates 150 years of service the community. It caters for 250 patients who have complex needs caused by neurological injury or disease, such as Huntingtons disease. The focus is on disability management, so that patients can have as much independence as possible. Often treatment will centre around helping the patient enhance their remaining abilities to compensate for those lost.

For Justine Greening it was her second visit to the hospital, and she commented on the quality of care:

"Patient care is at the heart of absolutely everything that happens here. Giving patients the best quality of care and attention is the only target that the dedicated staff here need. Their commitment to the patients is inspirational."

Ms Greening pointed out that for the hospital, research also plays a key role in helping to develop patient care.

"What makes this place so special is that staff will go the extra mile for patients, and the creativity of the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability as a research centre means that patients get access to the very leading-edge of treatment. We are very lucky to have such an outstanding hospital on our doorstep. Much of that research is funded by charitable grants. I very much hope to raise some funds for the hospital later in the year to support those efforts."

Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley MP commented on how the hospital worked effectively alongside the NHS:

"Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability shows how the independent sector has an important role to play alongside the NHS. It treats many NHS patients with the highest standards of care. That success is something that we need to see built upon."

Mr Lansley pointed out that the government’s current plans for the NHS did not focus sufficiently on meeting the needs of patients with long-term disease conditions. He said that Conservative plans would give those patients much more choice:

"Even a patient with a long-term degenerative disease such as Huntingdons disease can have choice - for many patients at the Royal Hospital that may take the form of more control over how they are treated and assisted as their condition develops. Every patient deserves the respect of making their own informed decisions about options for treatment so far as is possible. We are determined that Conservative policies on health will truly give all patients the choice they deserve, whatever their condition."

August 5, 2004