Robin Walker, Worcester’s MP, used Health Questions on his first day back in Parliament in 2016 to urge Ministers to do everything they can to secure a long term permanent management team at the Worcestershire Acute Trust after the news that its Chairman, Harry Turner is to step down in March.

Robin, who met with the clinical leaders of the trust in December when he toured the hospital ahead of Christmas has praised the work of staff at the hospital and used a health question today to raise their concerns and those of the clinical leadership about the need for permanent rather than temporary management to be put in place.

The recent CQC report that led to the Acute Trust being put into special measures rated the Trust as inadequate on the basis of safety and leadership, noting that too many of the key management roles were filled with interim directors, but also noted that care at all the hospitals in the Trust was good or outstanding. Robin has previously pointed out that the safety concerns mainly related to longstanding capacity problems at the Worcestershire Royal and Alexandra Hospitals and has made the case for significant upgrades to both. He wants to see a much larger Emergency Department in Worcester and more elective operations moved to the Redditch Hospital to free up capacity in Worcester.

Robin’s question followed that of Worcestershire Colleague, Mark Garnier, the MP for Wyre Forest who asked:

“The Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust now finds itself in special measures, and today its chairman has resigned, largely as a result of an over-extensive and highly complex review of clinical services in the county that has so far failed to reach an agreed conclusion. Given the complexity of the review process, and the apparent impossibility of it reaching an agreed conclusion, what steps can the Government take to untie the Gordian knot that created that situation and help the trust to get back on a stable footing?”

The hospitals Minister, Ben Gummer replied:

“My hon. Friend is right and there is a particularly complex series of circumstances in Worcestershire. I am determined to do something about that, and I want to meet him and his colleagues in the next few days to discuss possible options. I will then discuss those issues in turn with NHS England.”

Robin then asked the Minister:

“May I thank the Minister for his helpful answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Wyre Forest (Mark Garnier)? Further to that question, having recently met the clinical leadership at Worcestershire Royal hospital, they are adamant that they want permanent management in place at the hospital. The Care Quality Commission report said that the number of interim directors was one reason why it was put into special measures. Can the Minister reassure me that he will be doing everything he can to put in place permanent long-term management at the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust as quickly as possible?”

And he replied “I can assure my hon. Friend of precisely that.”

Commenting Robin said:

“I want to see the situation in our local NHS resolved as soon as possible and patient safety has to be the number one concern. It is essential that we listen to the staff and clinicians who have been providing excellent care throughout the challenging period we have been through and I am glad that Ministers today have promised to act. I will be using the meeting with health ministers to make the case for investment in capacity at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and in Redditch as I believe that the County as a whole will benefit from both. Local MPs supported the JSR process because we recognised the need to come up with a proper strategy for healthcare in Worcestershire, it has been frustrating to see it delayed but now we need to get the changes implemented. I am confident that a County based NHS Trust can deliver for Worcestershire and want to see the strongest possible team put in place as soon as possible to take it forward.”
“I want to pay tribute to the work that Harry Turner has done as chair of the trust and his passion for putting the patient experience and the delivery of high quality care at the centre of everything that is done there. He has helped to secure world class cancer facilties for our hospital and the good and outstanding ratings it received for quality of care are undoubtedly a reflection of his good work as well as of the endless hard work of local staff. I am glad that we have a Govenrment that is investing in the NHS and I am determined to make sure this investment delivers for Worcestershire.”

Notes to editors:

For Robin’s response to the CQC report on the Worcs Acute Trust see:

For the latest information from the Worcestershire Acute Trust see:

For the full CQC report on the Worcestershire Royal Hospital see:

For details of Robin’s campaigns for expanding the WRH see: