Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed news of the opening of a brand-new Discharge Lounge at Worcestershire Royal Hospital (WRH) this week as well as the announcement that a new Chief Executive has been found to start in the new year. Mr Armstrong, who started his career in nursing comes from a trust that has successfully emerged from quality special measures.

The new building has space for 18 patients on chairs or beds and will take in patients who are medically fit and due to be discharged. Moving patients to the new Discharge Lounge will make room for new patients who need to be admitted to the hospital’s acute beds. The unit will be run by nurses and pharmacy staff. Robin has previously discussed with clinicians at the trust how a better discharge facility could increase the flow of patients through the hospital and help to meet capacity challenges.

Juliet Hawkesford-Barnes, Matron for the Discharge Lounge said:

“We’re delighted that our Discharge Lounge has opened before the worst of Winter settles in. The new Discharge Lounge will be paramount in supporting early discharges from wards across Worcestershire Royal.

“The Lounge will be open from 8am til 8pm weekdays and 8am – 6pm on Saturdays, with capacity for patients requiring a bed prior to discharge and for those able to wait in our chair area.”

The news comes as Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock announced almost £4million in new investment in a Breast Imaging Improvement Plan for Worcestershire and Herefordshire. The plan is set to deliver improved breast screening and symptomatic services across the two counties. Robin visited Worcester’s dedicated Breast unit, a facility that he campaigned for, last week to plant a tree as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy campaign.

The new investment is part of £1bn extra capital funding being announced across England. It comes on top of the £20.5bn per year extra funding for the NHS over the next five years – the longest and largest funding settlement in the NHS’s history. The investment is part of the wider plan to provide better services for patients, integrate care better and renew ageing facilities.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“We want even more patients to receive world-class care in world-class NHS facilities and this near billion-pound boost – one of the most substantial capital funding commitments ever made – means that the NHS can do just that for years to come.”

“This will not only support dedicated staff through the redevelopment and modernisation of buildings, but it will allow additional services to launch for the first time, improving patients’ access to care in their local area as part of our long-term plan for the NHS.”

Commenting on a week of positive news for the NHS in Worcester, Robin said:

“I’m really glad to hear that the new Discharge Lounge at Worcestershire Royal Hospital is now open in time for the worst of the winter weather. I have no doubt that this will make a real difference to improving patient flow at the hospital, ensuring that much-needed ward space is made available as soon as patients are well enough to move on. Along with the additional £2.4million delivered in October to assist Worcestershire County Council with social care transfers, and the soon to be completed work on refurbishing the Aconbury ward, this investment in improving capacity will be welcomed by my constituents.”

“The £4million investment in breast screening across Worcestershire and Herefordshire is also fantastic news, and having recently visited the county’s fantastic breast unit at WRH I know just how much of a difference this additional funding will make. With the acute trust’s newly announced Chief Executive Matthew Hopkins due to take up his position early in the new year, I look forward to working with the leadership team to ensure more capacity is delivered fast and the service continues to improve for all my constituents in Worcester.”

“I know that meeting the capacity challenge at our local hospital is a key priority for constituents and that ensuring we have the best management in place both during this Winter and beyond is a vital step towards bringing the trust out of special measures and making sure that the hardworking staff at our hospital get all the support they need. Having campaigned hard for the extra facilities and funding that our hospital so clearly needs, I will keep campaigning to invest in and upgrade our local NHS.”


Notes to editors

For further details on the Department of Health and Social Care’s £1bn round of funding allocations, see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/1-billion-of-funding-to-upgrade-nhs-services-in-england

For details of the Acute Trust’s appointment of Matthew Hopkins as Chief Executive, see https://www.worcsacute.nhs.uk/news-and-media/763-appointment-of-chief-executive-at-worcestershire-acute-hospitals-nhs-trust

For Robin’s recent statement on the Budget’s announcements on NHS spending, see https://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-praises-budget-move-to-provide-mental-health-units-to-all-schools-and-aes/

For Robin’s previous statements on health and the NHS, see https://www.walker4worcester.com/category/health/