Worcester MP Robin Walker has today welcomed a breakthrough funding announcement of £29million for acute hospitals in Worcestershire, including the Alexandra and Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
The funding – which Robin has continually pressed the case for with Ministers since 2015 – marks the biggest capital investment in the acute trust since Worcestershire Royal Hospital opened in 2002.
The Worcestershire Royal will benefit from additional investment to upgrade maternity and children’s wards, as well as money for 81 more general and acute beds, as well as over 140 parking spaces. The Alexandra Hospital in Redditch will get extra money to pay for improvements to the elective care centre, endoscopy, children’s outpatients and an upgrade in theatres.
Over the past two years, Robin has met with Ministers from the Department of Health on a number of occasions to make the case for the £29million allocation. Most recently, Robin and Worcestershire’s other MPs met with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt just two weeks ago to urgently make the case for investment into healthcare in Worcestershire that would ease capacity issues and help lift the Trust out of special measures. This was the second meeting in two weeks between MPs from across Worcestershire and Health Ministers as they joined forces to support the County’s hospitals. The previous week the same group of MPs met with Hospitals Minister Philip Dunne and the regional head of NHS Improvement.
Robin has long campaigned for more resources for health services in Worcester and only last month met with Minister of State for Health Philip Dunne MP alongside Hospital Management on the steps being taken to lift the trust out of special measures.
The long-awaited measures will re-configure services to offer the best possible care for local people at the county’s hospitals. These will include a substantial increase in bed capacity at the Worcestershire Royal and investment in the emergency department as well as investments in wards and reconfiguration at the Alex in Redditch.
The funding announcement came as part of £325m of capital investment for local projects nationwide that will help the NHS to modernise and transform care for patients, unveiled today by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England boss Simon Stevens.
This initial tranche of funding has been targeted at the strongest and most advanced schemes in Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs). All plans have been developed locally.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
“This funding will support strong local plans to help the NHS modernise and transform care for patients.
“A measure of the success of these transformation partnerships is that people can see and feel improvements being made in their local area – there are already excellent examples of this across the country and this money will allow them to go further and faster.”
NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens said:
“Today we’re firing the starting gun on the first wave of major service upgrades and care redesign which will benefit people living in counties, towns and cities across England. For patients it’ll mean easier GP appointments, modern A&Es, and better cancer and mental health care. For staff, we’re putting our money where our mouth is in backing these practical plans developed by doctors, nurses and local NHS leaders. This is the first down payment of much-needed investment in modern equipment and NHS facilities, with more promised in the autumn and beyond. Today is proof positive that when you back the NHS with investment, both patients and taxpayers see the practical benefits.”
A spokesperson for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said:
“We are delighted with today’s announcement which gives us the necessary capital investment to provide more beds, increase car parking and improve facilities at the county’s hospitals. These improvements are needed in order to implement the clinical model for the future of acute hospital services in Worcestershire which was approved by the county’s three Clinical Commissioning Groups last week. This forms part of the long term Herefordshire and Worcestershire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) strategy.
“Plans for Worcestershire Royal Hospital include the partial refurbishment of Aconbury East to create 81 additional beds in three modern ward areas, increased paediatric and obstetric capacity, a High Dependency Unit and 141 new car parking spaces.”
“Subject to the necessary approvals being received, an implementation plan is in place to deliver these improvements by May 2020.”
Speaking on the announcement, Robin said:
“This is an extremely welcome announcement and the result of years’ worth of campaigning by myself and the other Worcestershire MPs. Together we have continually pressed Ministers on the urgent need for funding in the county’s hospitals, and today our call has been heard.”
“Securing the investment that our local hospitals need to thrive and provide top quality care has been a priority of mine since I was first elected in 2010, and for our acute trust to now receive the single biggest capital investment since the opening of the Worcestershire Royal is fantastic news.”
“I know from the concerns that constituents have raised with me over the years that increased provision of beds and a greater number of parking spaces at the Royal are the two of the biggest priorities for improvement, as well as the upgrades to maternity wards and theatres. These improvements can now be delivered thanks to this record funding allocation.”
“By investing in much-needed facilities I hope we will also send the message to hard working staff at all our hospitals that their work is appreciated and that we want to provide them with best possible support. I also firmly believe that these changes will take a good deal of pressure off our A&E.”
“I am very happy to hear that the Acute Trust management team have a strong implementation plan in place to ensure these improvements are delivered as soon as possible. I was expecting to have to continue pressing for this announcement but I am delighted today’s news means they can plan with certainty.”
Notes to editors
For Robin’s recent and previous releases on the NHS in Worcester and his campaigns to upgrade the facilities in local hospitals see:
For Robin’s Parliamentary Questions backing the appointment of new management and the expansion of the WRH see:
For Robin’s previous campaigns on the WRH see: