GM Mayor Andy Burnham praises under pressure and ‘amazing’ NCA staff

29 July 2021

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham visited Salford Royal this week to meet with frontline staff and hear first-hand about the current pressures in the NHS.

NCA Chief Executive Raj Jain invited Mr Burnham to come and spend an afternoon at one of our sites to speak with colleagues about how they are coping through the pandemic and the impact the current unprecedented demand is having on services and their wellbeing.

Mr Burnham took the opportunity to come to our Salford site where he visited the Emergency Village – including A&E, EAU and Panda Unit – heard about plans for the new James Potter Building and met with Matron Cathy Cawley and the team on the Intestinal Failure Unit (H8). He also spent some time in the Salford Silver Command control room to see how the hub monitors, co-ordinates and manages the daily running of the organisation throughout the pandemic.

During the visit he heard about how the pressures were affecting staff at all our sites, including community teams and in social care.

GM Mayor Andy Burnham Visit to Salford Royal 1.png
GM Mayor Andy Burnham chats with Salford Royal staff members
(A selection of the images have been provided by
Greater Manchester Combined Authority GMCA)

At a press conference following the visit, Mr Burnham said: “I can now see it through the eyes of the NHS staff and understand how they feel. It’s really important for me to see this; if I didn’t understand it, how can the people of Greater Manchester understand it?

“It’s up to me to speak up for these amazing staff across Manchester. We all need to show our support for the NHS staff and think about what they are going through right now.

“There’s a different reality in here than what the messaging on the outside suggests.”

He added: “What I've heard as I've gone around and I've spoken to staff in many different departments in this amazing hospital, is that this actually is the worst summer they have ever worked through.

“And for many people it is the worst period of their professional career in terms of the intensity, the relentlessness, of the pressure that is currently on the NHS - not just here in Salford Royal, not just in Greater Manchester, but actually in the NHS across the country.

“I think there is a feeling amongst NHS staff at the moment that life has moved on outside, with the talk of Freedom Day and all the rest of it, and yet the reality has definitely not moved on inside our hospitals.

“This hospital, but also the NHS more broadly in Greater Manchester, is possibly going through its toughest time of the pandemic, right now.” GM Mayor Andy Burnham Visit to Salford Royal 2.png

Libby McManus, NCA Chief Nurse, thanked Mr Burnham for visiting and said while it was great news that COVID infections were reducing in the community, the NHS was still under immense pressure.

She added: “We are under great pressure because we want to ensure that patients coming through our services – with or without COVID – get the best treatment possible and that we are still able to provide care for those people who have had to wait for planned care.”

The Mayor has published a video online following his visit -

Mayor Andy Burnham visits Salford Royal hospital and speaks to staff on the pandemic frontline - YouTube

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