TWO high-profile visitors to Dursley’s hospital have congratulated staff on their commitment to providing the best care possible.

Dr Peter Carter is the chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, the world’s largest professional union of nurses, and he paid a visit to Vale Community Hospital on Wednesday, August 21.

Dr Carter took a tour of the clinical departments and chatted to nurses and other healthcare professionals, before giving a presentation at Stroud General Hospital in the afternoon.

The chief executive, who oversees 400,000 nurses, midwives, health visitors, nursing students, cadets and health care assistants, said it was important for him to get out and see nurses in action.

"I thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the two hospitals. Staff spoke openly about how much they love their jobs," he said.

"Care and compassion are essential characteristics for a nurse, and I saw this in the departments I visited. With an ageing population, community nursing is becoming even more important than ever, and so it is essential we get it right.

"The patients I spoke to sang the praises of the nurses and the care they’re receiving, so there’s a lot to be proud about in Gloucestershire."

The hospital's matron Carol Grimsdale said the day had been a success.

"It was great for staff to meet Dr Carter and to give him a tour of our facilities at Vale and Stroud," she said.

"To have such a prestigious leader of nursing join us to listen and share in the issues nurses face every day, and reinforce the value of a nurse’s role, was a real reminder of why we do what we do."

Stroud MP Neil Carmichael also took the opportunity to learn more about primary care provision and the role of community hospitals on his own visit on Tuesday, August 20.

Speaking with other staff and patients, Mr Carmichael discussed the importance of patients having access to services nearer to their home.

Mr Carmichael dug the first of the foundations when the hospital was built in 2010. "The Vale Community Hospital is an excellent example of providing key services for patients close to their homes, and within their own communities," he said.

"Whilst the Stroud constituency is very diverse, it is important that all patients’ needs are met, and the Government’s NHS reforms will be instrumental in preserving the high standard of care for future years."