I met Gordon Brown today.
I invited him to visit when he rang me in June to say how pleased he was that we had got our £6.5 million charity money back.
At the time he said he would love to come, and was so complimentary about the Christie, but I never dreamt that this incredibly busy man who is running the country would turn up just a few weeks later. And with the new health secretary Andy Burnham.
It was a real honour to show them around. It’s funny when you’ve seen someone so many times on the TV and in newspapers to finally meet them face-to-face. Gordon Brown was a warm and friendly man. And Andy Burnham, who is one of our local MPs, visited our teenage cancer unit a few years and is a brilliant supporter.
We took our special guests to see our surgical robot and to our radiotherapy department where they saw a machine in action and heard about the new radiotherapy centres we are building in Oldham and Salford. They met patients and staff and were interested, enthusiastic and really positive.
The prime minister said we were leading the world in some areas and it’s great that visits like this give us the change to promote what we’re doing in such a high-profile way – but visits like these are also a real boost for our staff and patients. And not just those who get the opportunity to meet the VIPs. Everyone here feels proud when we’re chosen for events like these. There’s a real buzz around the hospital today.
So yes, I met Gordon Brown today. And it was our wonderful staff and patients that brought him here.