Health Secretary Matt Hancock joins fund-raiser Betty McLatchy to open Haverhill's new ultrasound service
The introduction to Haverhill of an ultrasound clinic was praised by Health Secretary Matt Hancock for being an example of how health care can be provided in the community.
The £65,000 ultrasound machine was unveiled at the Christmas Maltings practice in Camps Road on Friday by Mr Hancock and former Haverhill mayor Betty McLatchy, who raised £20,000 towards the equipment.
Paying tribute to Betty’s fund-raising, Mr Hancock said: “The most important thing is that the people of Haverhill, a growing town, are no longer going to have to travel to Bury for their ultrasound.
“We have not had secondary care in Haverhill – we have primary care, but now we’ve got the hospital providing services directly in town for the first time. So I regard this as a small beachhead for West Suffolk Hospital, which has always been regarded as the Bury hospital, but now is spreading out across the west of Suffolk. This is not just an ultrasound to ensure people don’t have to travel down the A143 to Bury, it’s the start of something much bigger and that is incredibly exciting.”
Mr Hancock added that he wanted to bring together community care, GPs and acute trusts to ‘make sure that services are more integrated in the future’ and that he’d like to see similar services to the Haverhill ultrasound ‘spread across the whole country’.
The service, which will be manned by sonographers from the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and has been supported by the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, will start today (November 8) at the Christmas Maltings surgery.
A clinic will initially be held in the surgery one day per week in a room which bears Mrs McLatchy’s name.