View from Westminster 13th January 2017

The problems at the Worcester Royal Hospital continue to get worse. The A&E department has been the subject of national media – yet again – as two patients have died waiting for treatment in the A&E department. But the hospital has been underperforming for some time and this is completely unacceptable.

I have first hand experience of A&E, accompanying a patient. It is chaotic, badly run and incredibly poorly designed. Systems are patched together and the process for admitting patients puts pressure on the A&E. When I raised my concerns with the acting chief executive, the report they presented confirmed they are in complete denial about the extent of their problems. I have discussed my worries about the management with the health secretary on several occasions. These have been addressed and a new chair has started, who I am meeting next week, and a new chief executive appointed, starting soon.

As county MPs, we have met with Jeremy Hunt on several occasions to push various issues, including resolving the now five year old reorganisation programme, promised to take just 18 months.

With the latest set of problems, we sent Worcester’s local MP to tackle the issue head on. Robin Walker was accompanied by Karen Lumley, the MP for the Alexandra hospital in Redditch, also suffering A&E problems. Whilst this issue affects all our constituents, it is right that with specific problems, the issues are tackled head on by the appropriate MP. In any case, we are badgering the health secretary on a permanent basis as we see him the whole time.

But the issue is clearly management. The government’s intention to fund capacity expansion at both Worcester and Redditch is welcome. The management issues are being resolved and I look forward to working proactively with the new managers when they are fully in place.

But it would be wrong to end on an unbalanced note. Kidderminster’s hospital is one of the best performing in the country with waiting times at the minor injuries unit at less than 2 hours and cancelations very low. And for each complaint I get about the NHS, I see far more people praising the service they get from individuals, working hard to help those in need. And it is to those individual doctors, nurses and others who work with patients to whom I am incredibly grateful. It is they who have been let down by poor management over the last few years.