Health Minister and Local MP visit the Royal Free

The UK’s only centre for the management of patients with hazardous infections, the latest in intensive care and a demonstration of how conventional and complementary therapies work side by side.

These were the highlights of a recent visit to the Royal Free by Anna Soubry, Public Health Minister, and Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green.

Escorted by Dominic Dodd, chairman, and Caroline Clarke, deputy chief executive, the guests were shown around the Royal Free’s new intensive care unit by Dr Steve Shaw, divisional director for urgent care. The unit has 31 intensive care beds, where the highest level of care can be given the most critically ill patients 24 hours a day.

Ms Soubry and Mr Freer also saw where a patient suffering from Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever was treated last October by Dr Michael Jacobs, clinical lead for the centre and consultant in infectious diseases, and his team. The high security infectious diseases unit is the only one of its kind in the UK.  

Part of Ms Soubry’s brief is complementary and alternative medicine and Keith Hunt MBE, lead complementary therapist, also showed her and Mr Freer around the hospital’s planned investigation and treatment unit, where they had the opportunity to see members of his team offer massage to patients.

Ms Soubry said: “This was a great opportunity to meet with staff and see first-hand how they are caring for patients. I was particularly impressed to see that the hospital was focusing on the well-being of their patients, including through the provision of massage therapies. I was delighted to have met patients and hear their positive experiences of compassionate care.”


Mr Freer added: ““I was delighted to visit the Royal Free last week. Residents in Finchley and Golders Green are lucky to have such a well-run, state-of-the-art hospital right on their doorstep. I look forward to continuing to work with the hospital to ensure local residents in my constituency stay well looked after.”

Mr Dodd said: “We were delighted to show the Minister and Mr Freer around the Royal Free. We are pleased that they had the opportunity to both meet some of our expert staff and see some of the specialist services that we have invested in, so we can offer the best possible care to patients from the local community and beyond.”