UNDER-FIRE Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley visited Ellesmere Port on Monday.
The minister visited West Cheshire College to give his backing to a pioneering scheme to treat more people in their own homes.
Mr Lansley has been criticised by the Royal College of Nursing and British Medical Association since launching his Health and Social Care Act.
In June doctors meeting at a British Medical Association conference voted in favour of calling for his resignation.
But the minister was all smiles as he gave his support to Hospital at Home, commissioned by NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and launched in December as an alternative to hospital care.
It allows people in Ellesmere Port and Chester the freedom to choose to receive treatment for a range of illnesses and conditions in the comfort of their own home instead of in hospital.
Mr Lansley accompanied Dr John Hodgson, Hospital at Home’s medical director, on a patient visit on Monday.
A team of GPs and nurses treat a number of conditions that are considered to be medically straight forward, including pneumonia, chronic lung disease, serious urinary tract and skin infections. More complex conditions, for example, a heart attack, would not be treated this way.
Dr Huw Charles-Jones, chairman of NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We really believe in this scheme and in bringing care closer to patients’ homes. We know it’s a priority for local people and something that makes a difference.”
Mr Lansley also met NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s senior team to hear about their preparations for authorisation and hosted a discussion with local health and social care leaders.
Dr Charles-Jones said: “We have been able to help about 450 patients to receive the care they need, where they want it. And I’m pleased to say the feedback received has been extremely positive.”
Mr Lansley met William Baines and Peter Huxley-Blythe, who used the Hospital at Home service for their treatment.