Local MP Robin Walker met with Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt MP yesterday alongside other Worcestershire MPs, to press 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 Ministers at the Department of Health as they join forces to support the County’s hospitals. Last week the same group of MPs met with Philip Dunne the hospitals Minister and the regional head of NHS Improvement
The Worcester MP 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.
All of Worcestershire’s MPs have agreed to work together to support the local NHS and reiterated their shared support for the founding principles of the NHS – that the service should meet the needs of everyone, no matter who they are or where they live and that care should be based on clinical need, not the ability to pay and should be free at the point of use.
The Government will hold fast to these principles by providing the NHS with the resources it needs and holding it accountable for delivering exceptional care to patients wherever and whenever they need it. It has committed to increase NHS spending by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years, delivering an increase in real funding per head of the population for every year of the parliament.
The last Budget confirmed that £425 million of extra investment in the NHS in the next three years to support the development of Sustainability and Transformation Plans, with £100 million earmarked for A&E departments in 2017-18, to help them manage demand ahead of next winter, and help patients get to primary care faster. The Conservative manifesto set out to deliver the most substantial capital investment programme in recent years and Worcestershire’s six Conservative MPs have agreed to work together to ensure local NHS hospitals and staff benefit from this.
They have agreed to campaign together for:
1 Extra investment
Worcestershire Royal Hospital has struggled to deal with the number of patients it needs to treat and all Worcestershire MPs have agreed to work together to support a £29 million bid to build extra capacity at our Worcestershire hospitals and the long-overdue measures which will re-configure services to offer the best possible care for local people at our 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.
2 Supporting new management
The Worcestershire NHS Acute Trust has appointed a new chair, a new CEO and is recruiting great new staff to lead a dramatic shift in capability and in time, better performance. Local MPs plan to regularly meet with the new senior management to make sure it is showing the right leadership as it works towards coming out of special measures and to ensure the right support is given to clinicians to offer the best possible care across our local health economy.
3 Help with Winter pressures
Most hospitals face extra pressures during the winter and the Government allocates extra funding to help individual hospitals cope. MPs will continue to back bids to secure extra funding to help our local NHS deal with extra winter pressures – there will be £900,000 available to help this winter and it is an important measure when hospitals face unexpected high demand.
4 Continuing Capital investment
There has been some great investment in buildings. with a brand new £17 million community hospital in Malvern, a superb £22.5 million oncology unity in Worcester, the award winning midwife led birth centre and the new breast centre in Worcester. Securing the £29 million investment will build on this track record as will support for campaigns such as the Rory the Robot appeal.
5 Reducing A&E pressures
Long waits at A&E are often due to staff being swamped and having to decide which patients actually need urgent care. This means better communication to encourage people to make better use of their own GP surgeries, pharmacists, the 111 advice telephone system and local Minor Injuries Units across the county to take the pressure off the hard-pressed Accident and Emergency Unit at Worcestershire Royal.
6 A strong future across the NHS
The NHS’s management are working on a plan to address the issue of people living longer while also finding areas where savings could be made. The Sustainability Transformation Plan will be a blueprint for delivering care in the future and as part of this process, will continue to press for the right balance of services between the acute sector, social care and the County’s valued Community Hospitals. It will also support more investment in mental health and better access to primary care.
7 Supporting the staff
Worcestershire MPs will support measures which help staff to do the best possible job including recruiting more doctors and nurses, committing to 1,500 more people studying medicine, 10,000 more mental health professionals and supporting local initiatives to increase the investment in training for health professionals such as proposals for a new medical school in Worcester. Local MPs will continue to speak up for the staff and back them as they deliver excellent care for us and our loved ones when we most need it.
Speaking after the meeting, Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP said;
“I am aware of the challenges facing the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust, and I keep this under close review with the Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the CQC. I want to see this plan put in place quickly, which will be the first step in releasing extra funding.
“We know that leadership is a key issue in many of the Trusts that go into special measures, and I am pleased to see new leadership at the WAHT working hard to deliver on the turnaround plan, which has been welcomed by frontline staff. We are starting to see encouraging signs, and we want to support them in keeping up the momentum to improve outcomes for patients.
“Securing the necessary investment in our hospital has been one of my top priorities since I became Worcester’s MP and I have always campaigned for extra resources for the health service in the city and will continue to do so. Since the election I have raised this issue with Ministers on a number of occasions, and I am delighted to be able to join colleagues from across Worcester to ensure that we get the Healthcare that the people of this county deserve.
As well as working closely with my colleagues from across the County on this seven point plan I will continue to press locally for more parking at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the constructing of a multi storey car park there which would benefit staff and patients alike. A strong local NHS which patients can easily access is a top priority”
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: