At their meeting at the Alex, Rachel and Bill were also joined by the Chairman of the Board, Caragh Merrick, and Simon Trickett, the Accountable Officer for Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group.
One of the main focuses of the meeting was on the recent CQC inspection and what steps the Trust will be taking to make further improvements. There were tangible signs of improvement following the recent inspection, and the Trust hopes to build on this with the forthcoming inspections of its core services.
Rachel and Bill also discussed staff recruitment with Michelle and they were both assured that recruitment is healthy. Michelle confirmed the Trust is looking to continue to reduce the reliance on agency staff by taking on more permanent staff.
After it was discussed that a number of residents continue to raise concerns in relation to the financial viability of the Trust, Rachel and Bill were told by Caragh Merrick that the aim is for the Trust to run a balanced budget in the next three to four years. This will be achieved by better procurement practices, an ongoing efficiency programme and by reducing the agency staff bill.
Rachel said: “It was great to join with Councillor Hartnett to discuss the recent CQC inspection with Michelle McKay and what it means for our Alex. Our hospital should not be a party-political issue and I will always work with others, no matter which party they are from, to fight together in the best interests of our Alex.
“The Trust has undergone great difficulties and our residents have been let down by those making the decisions at a high level, even though front line staff are first class. We deserve better, and at the meeting it was acknowledged there is more still to do.
“We will both continue fighting to ensure the Trust, the CCG and the Government follow through on their promises made to the people of Redditch to ensure the Trust is stabilised, the investment is delivered and local people are getting first class care.”
Bill Hartnett, who had called for the meeting, continued his determination to seek reassurances from the Trust that robust plans are in place to ensure that improvements are continued to be made in all the areas highlighted in the CQC report.
He said: “To ensure that all residents receive high quality health care we all want to see the staff at the Alex supported and the best possible services delivered. For this to happen we need to see the long-awaited investment from the Government being delivered.
It was acknowledged that the CCG has had their proposals approved for the future delivery of the acute services, for which the Borough Council had opposed.
However, Cllr Hartnett added: “I was advised at the meeting that the CQC had carried out further focussed inspections in specific areas where they had raised concerns, and that a further report will be published later this year.”
Bill again repeated the offer of practical help from the council and a commitment to working together where the council and Trust could.