Matt Hancock ‘struck by three things’ about the NHS after ‘working nightshift’ at London Hospital

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock reflects on a night spent on a shift at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and with the London Ambulance Service.

Matt Bodell
27 August 2018
Chelsea and Westminster NHS Hospital

The new Health and Social Care Secretary worked alongside the Site Managers and Ambulance Service at  Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Matt Hancock, the new Health and Social Care Secretary, claimed he was ‘proud to don’ his blue scrubs as he spent part of the night working with members of the team at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.


His visit consisted of several hours with the Site Manager, time shadowing a consultant in A&E and two hours with London Ambulance Service, when he also visited St Georges and Charing Cross.

Mr. Hancock said the visit made three things very clear; the hard-work, dedication and camaraderie of the staff he worked with, the lacking of technology with the service alongside the staffs ‘astonishing’ level of professionalism and skill.

‘3 things have struck me’.

In a published reflection of the night, Mr Hancock said; “We all know the NHS staff work incredibly hard and do amazing things every night of every year, but to see how they work together under pressure with such professionalism and maintaining levels of human empathy was breath-taking. Watching the whole team in action, especially when a blue light arrives, or the emergency bleep sounds, is like watching an orchestra in full flow.”

The new Health Secretary has made it clear since his appointment that he plans to draw from his experience as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to overall the current NHS IT infrastructure, commenting; “Staff were hindered by IT in a way that we simply wouldn’t accept in any other organisation in the 21st century. Tonight has motivated me more than ever to sort this out: interoperable data standards are on their way.”


Before finally adding;  “Being a medic, a paramedic or a nurse is of course about the medicine, but the professional ability of the staff to impart information efficiently and clearly under pressure was mind-blowing. We may think about medicine as a science but the staff’s capability to communicate clearly and concisely in these circumstances demonstrated an astonishing level of professionalism and skill. Operating on a 24-hour basis like hospitals do, you can’t depend on an individual knowing all – handover is everything. This, if anything, makes the importance of improving tech even stronger.”

‘We need to address the crisis the NHS faces’.

Donna Kinnair, the Acting Chief Executive & General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “We welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to see for himself the pressure that dedicated healthcare professionals in the NHS face every day and night and his recognition of their outstanding commitment.

“We are also encouraged that he understands that improvements in technology are long overdue and has already stated his commitment to delivering this.

“However, beneficial though the IT overhaul will be, much more still needs to be done to address the crisis that the NHS faces, and we urge him to not only focus on technology but on the other many areas of concern as well.”


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