Rachel has welcomed Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group’s announcement that the Urgent Care Centre at the Alexandra Hospital will open this December.

Back in February, after speaking to residents who were angry the Urgent Care Centre still wasn’t operational despite health bosses promising residents this service last year, Rachel launched a petition calling on the CCG to bring forward, without further delay, plans for the promised implementation of the GP-led service.

More than 1,000 residents signed the petition which Rachel then presented to the House of Commons in May.

This new service was said to be key to the proposed model of Acute Services at the Alex after paediatric care was centralised to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

The GP-led Urgent Care Centre will work alongside A&E at the Alex, and will treat adults and children with minor or moderate illnesses and injuries. The opening of this new service will not result in the further downgrading of the hospital’s A&E.

During a meeting with Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG’s Accountable Officer, Simon Trickett, and Chief Operating Officer, Mari Gay, on Wednesday (September 26th), it was confirmed to Rachel that the Urgent Care Centre that she had been calling for will open this December.

The Urgent Care Centre will be staffed by a GP and an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. It will open from 12pm until 9pm, seven days a week to provide Redditch residents with a real alternative to A&E when they need urgent treatment.

Rachel said: “Finally the CGG has confirmed when the Urgent Care Centre will open at the Alex. I’ve been calling for this new service to open for months now, so I very much welcome the CCG’s announcement.

“The Alex has continued to treat children brought by ambulance during the period there has been no A&E provision, so no child has been put at risk through lack of an emergency response during this period. The staff have been trained to assess and treat under 16s brought to their doors, in addition to paramedics and ambulance staff being able to treat patients.

“The Urgent Care Centre will provide parents with peace of mind that their children can still be treated at the Alex, which is currently the case at the moment. I hope this new service will also reduce pressures on A&E as it will provide residents with a real alternative to Accident and Emergency.

“It’s great to see a brand-new service opening at our hospital. This clearly demonstrates the Alex has a bright future and is essential to the delivery of healthcare in Worcestershire.

The ongoing concern around ambulance delays at Worcestershire Royal was also discussed at Rachel’s meeting with the CCG.

Rachel added: “It is simply unacceptable to see ambulance’s queuing outside the Worcestershire Royal. It’s clear there is an issue with triaging which is leading to this situation. Other hospitals are under pressure like Worcestershire Royal, but are much better at triaging patients and so patients aren’t having to wait in the back of ambulances. If the Trust put into place nationally recognised triaging models, they could take immediate steps to prevent ambulances from queuing outside A&E.

“I’ve been assured the Trust is doing everything it can to improve its triaging model. I’ll be taking this issue up with Trust bosses and asking them to step up their efforts to introduce nationally recognised and effective working practises.”

It was also confirmed at the meeting that at the end of July, the CQC lifted the section 31 notice imposed on Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in 2015 relating to the emergency department at Worcestershire Royal. With the recent lifting of the section 31 notice relating to radiology services, this now means the Trust has no conditions imposed on its registration with the CQC. This is the first time since March 2015 this has been the case and is testament to the hard work of staff focused on improving the safety and quality of services.