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    Walker visits WRH to see world class radiotherapy & oncology centre


Robin Walker, Worcester’s MP, spent last Thursday at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital meeting with Doctors, nurses, hospital staff and volunteers at the brand new Worcestershire Oncology Centre and the hospital’s hard working A&E department.

He planted a Worcester black pear tree to celebrate the completion of the £24 million oncology centre and met with staff and patients there as well as taking a tour of the facility which has now treated its first patients. Robin campaigned even before he was elected as Worcester’s MP to support head and neck cancer surgery staying at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and then, as MP, for radiotherapy to be brought there. He supported local cancer survivor, Paul Crawford’s campaign for more cancer treatments to be available in county and spoke up in Parliament for that service to be based in Worcester. Due to the hard work of local hospital consultants in oncology, haematology and the tireless campaigning of local volunteers, the dream of the Worcestershire Cancer Strategy has now become a reality. Robin was presented with a lend lease hard hat with a label which read “To Robin Walker MP in appreciation of the support shown in the development of the Worcestershire Oncology Centre” by the Acute Trust Chairman, Harry Turner.

The new centre includes three of the most advanced LINACs radiotherapy machines in the country and will be one of the top centres for highly targeted radiotherapy anywhere in the UK. Eight consultants have been recruited to support its work and a number of physicists as well as specialist nursing staff are being supported through a partnership with the Coventry & Warwick University Trust. Having radiotherapy treatment there means that cancer patients who previously had to travel out of County to centres in Cheltenham or Birmingham, can now have their full treatment closer to home, making it easier for them and for their friends and families supporting them. During his visit Robin met a mental health nurse from Bromsgrove who was accompanying a patient and remarked on how much easier it was to be bringing someone for treatment in Worcester than it would have been when they had to travel all the way to Cheltenham. He also met volunteers from WRVS who staff the shop and canteen at the centre, specialist computer analysts who use the latest software to ensure that treatment is as carefully targeted as possible and some of the doctors who were involved in designing and staffing the centre. Much of the look of the Oncology centre including its bright yellow colouring and pictures of Worcester landmarks such as Cripplegate Park, blue skie9s and pear trees was designed by patients. The new unit is just one of the new services opening at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital this year and will be joined later in the year by a new Breast Cancer Unit and a new midwife let birth unit.

Following this visit Robin spent over an hour talking to the matron, Clare Bush nurses and doctors at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital’s A&E. He heard directly from clinical staff about some of the challenges that they have been facing with high demand and some of the problems that the hospital has faced with not always having sufficient medical beds available for an ageing population with more people living with long term conditions. He discussed all the options for improving the throughput of A&E, including a new urgent care centre, to be built close to the hospital to help ensure fewer patients come there who might not need emergency care, greater support to the social care sector in taking people out of hospital and more investment in upgrading Worcester’s emergency department. He did see a number of patients on trolleys and was told by staff that this was often the case when there were no spare beds available, but he also saw how nurses, doctors and the matron on duty provided round the clock care and regular support to all the patients in their care. Robin relayed the thanks of the many constituents he has met on the doorsteps who have told him that they have nothing but praise for the hard work of hospital staff and repeated his commitment to securing investment in the hospital.

In each of the last four years there has been an increase in the funding for Worcestershire’s NHS and this investment has helped to secure more frontline staff. New figures from the Department of Health show that at the start of 2015, there were more than 18 more hospital doctors in the Worcestershire Acute Trust and 124 more hospital nurses than in 2010, that there were 16,188 more operations performed in 2012/13 than in 2009/10 and that the number of cancer tests has also risen sharply. The total number of diagnostic tests carried out in 2014 was 173,154, a rise of 19,667 against the number in 2010 and the number of MRI scans rose to 22,513, an increase of 6,784. Over the same period the number of cases of hospital acquired infections has fallen with both MRSA and C Diff cases falling. The hospital has also delivered an end to mixed sex wards and a reduction in falls in the period.

The day after his hospital visit Robin met with the South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group to discuss how the local health system can invest further to support elderly patients and provide more capacity and support both for both cancer care and emergency care.

Speaking about his visit to the Radiotherapy centre Robin said:

“Having campaigned for many years for radiotherapy services to come to Worcester I am delighted to see that they now have and I want to congratulate everyone who has been involved in achieving this. In particular I want to thank Paul Crawford, a head and neck cancer patient who first alerted me to the need to bring more treatments in County and campaigned tirelessly, first to protect the service that had saved his life and then to enhance it with cutting edge radiotherapy on the same site. It was an honour to be able to plant a Worcestershire pear tree at the site of what will be a fantastic addition to our County’s NHS.”

Speaking about his visit to the A&E, he said:

“Our NHS has faced some massive challenges in recent years with rising demand and great pressure on acute services as a result of an ageing population and more people living with complex conditions. Staff at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital have done an incredible job in meeting those challenges and I keep hearing from constituents about the high quality of care that they have received there. It was a pleasure to be able to speak to more patients today and to spend time with some of the frontline staff who make such a huge contribution. I wanted to use my visit today to thank the doctors, nurses and other staff who work incredibly hard to care for people in the most challenging situations and to assure them of my support as their local MP. We need to keep investing in staff and facilities in Worcestershire’s NHS and I am determined to ensure we have the capacity to do so.”

He concluded:

“Worcestershire’s NHS is achieving some remarkable things. Our new cancer treatment centre will be one of the finest anywhere in the UK and will provide a fantastic boost for people fighting this horrible disease – it is one of many new services coming to our hospital including an improved urgent care centre, a dedicated breast cancer unit and a midwife led birth unit. Despite the enormous challenges facing A&E, our dedicated clinical staff are doing a remarkable job there and the vast majority of constituents who I have heard from recognise this. We need to keep delivering a strong economy so we can keep investing in a strong and successful NHS for Worcestershire.”


Notes to editors:

For Robin’s recent releases on the NHS see:

For Robin’s most recent releases on Cancer care see:

For Robin’s support for the Radiotherapy unit and the head & neck campaign see:


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