A GOVERNMENT health minister praised the “commitment” of staff at Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital during a visit this month.

Dr Dan Poulter, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Health, visited Musgrove as part of his tour of NHS facilities across the region.

He was shown the hospital’s extended and refurbished emergency department and newly opened Jubilee building, which houses 112 en-suite bedrooms for surgical patients.

He was also told how the emergency department has been upgraded to cope with increasing numbers of critically ill or injured patients, and heard about the hospital’s wider plans to replace outdated accommodation to improve care for patients.

Dr Poulter said: “I was delighted to get the chance to visit Musgrove Park Hospital and meet the committed staff who work there.”

Musgrove chairman Rosalinde Wyke said: “We were delighted that Dr Poulter chose to come and see some of our new facilities here at Musgrove, as we have been working hard to sustain the quality of care we provide to our patients in what is a very challenging time for the NHS.

“The visit gave us a real opportunity to show Dr Poulter some of the fantastic work going on at Musgrove, and also to talk to him about some of the issues we are facing as a medium sized acute hospital; such as moving to more flexible seven-day working, concerns about our ability to finance improvements to our estate – such as our theatres and ITU – as well as managing the demands of our increasingly aged population.

“Acute hospitals are facing some real challenges in the coming years and so this was a good opportunity to talk through those issues with Dr Poulter so he can take them back to the Department of Health and Government.”