HEALTH Secretary Matt Hancock visited Sherborne’s Yeatman Hospital.

He was welcomed by Chris Loder, the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for West Dorset.

They visited The Willows ward, which recently became the first-ever ‘Hospital Ward of the Year’ for end-of-life care. The award, by the Gold Standards Framework (GSF), is a national programme to help improve care for people in their final days.

The award acknowledged the hospital team's commitment to giving patients and their families the best possible experience, supported by the facilities on offer.

Run by Dorset Healthcare, the hospital has had a dedicated end-of-life care suite for several years, complete with its own bedroom, en-suite bathroom, kitchen, living area and garden. In 2018, a donation from the hospital's Friends group funded the development of a second purpose-built suite, with sensory lighting and a music system.

Chris Loder, who was born at The Yeatman Hospital, took the opportunity to talk to Mr Hancock about healthcare provision for Special Educational Needs (SEN) children; the challenges faced by Dorset’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and the issues experienced by local unpaid carers.

Mr Loder was also grilled at 'Inclusive Education Question Time' Hustings organised by Dorset Parents Campaign Group for Special Needs and Disabilities at the Prince of Wales School in Dorchester yesterday.