Following her frustration that £29m in healthcare investments promised in July is taking too long to reach the place it is most needed, Rachel Maclean, MP for Redditch, recently wrote to Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt, regional director at NHS Improvement, Dale Bywater, and CEO at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Michelle MacKay.

The cash boost was confirmed back in the summer and will see the Worcestershire Royal Hospital getting upgraded maternity wards, theatres and children’s services, while 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.

However, while the money has been approved, the frustration has been the time it is taking for the Trust to gain access to the money. A project that will take some considerable time to plan, design and deliver, is being held up at the initial stage, meaning the Trust can’t appoint architects or start any work.

Rachel said: “I am pushing as hard as I can to get this money, or part of it, to where it is needed to help cover the costs of some of the advance work required to make the improvements happen. I have told all the key decision-makers how crucial this money is and they are in no doubt as to my determination to make this happen.

“I am fully aware that the public are anxious to see tangible improvements as quickly as possible, and I support that, but I also understand that business cases have to be completed and agreed.”
The Outline Business Case has been signed off and is with the Department of Health for approval as this is being funded from the national STP capital funding programme, and the Trust is progressing with the development of their Final Business Case.

The good news this December however is that the Trust has been awarded urgent care capital of £800,000 to expand the Discharge Lounge in Worcester to support improved flow of patients and reduce pressures on A&E. The purpose of the Discharge Lounge is to provide a safe and comfortable environment for patients who are fit for discharge. Currently, the daily limitations of the current Discharge Lounge service have a resultant adverse impact on patient flows and a lack of early discharges from acute hospital beds, leading to patients waiting for inpatient admission.

Rachel added: “While we await the £29m in capital funding, this will at lease relieve the pressure on admissions, and this can only help the Trust achieve their admissions standards.”