A senior Government minister has singled out Airedale Hospital’s innovative approach to caring for patients with long-term health problems.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt visited Airedale on Monday to see how staff supported patients with dementia and long-term conditions.

The MP for South West Surrey toured the hospital’s Telehealth Hub and a ward designed for people with dementia.

“I wanted to see some of the things happening at Airedale that are at the cutting edge for the whole of the country,” he said.

“I’m incredibly impressed by the technology here, which can really help people live healthily. There’s a strong culture of care and compassion at Airedale, which is something that is very much in the minds of the public at the moment.

“There is also some pioneering work going on here around the sharing of patient records between GP surgeries.”

Mr Hunt saw how patients could have consultations with health professionals from the comfort of their own home or local GP surgery via secure video link technology.

In Ward One, he heard how older patients with dementia were benefiting from specially-designed crockery, and a system where butterfly symbols are included by beds and on the notes of people with dementia. These help staff identify people with dementia, so they know they will need extra care and additional help with feeding.

Mr Hunt was also told about the hospital’s dignity room. This was set up to provide free items, such as slippers, warm clothing and toiletries, to those patients admitted to hospital without their own possessions.

Keighley MP Kris Hopkins joined the Secretary of State on his visit.

He said: “The staff here are dedicated and proud of their hospital, and that comes out in everything they do. They are a real credit to their town.”

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust medical director, Dr Andrew Catto, said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to show Mr Hunt some of our work, which demonstrates real improvements in care for our patients – particularly for those with dementia and long-term conditions.”