Rachel said:

“The CQC’s report following their unannounced inspections of the emergency departments at Worcestershire Royal and the Alex is damning and makes for depressing reading. 

“To those who have used the county’s A&E departments, the CQC’s findings will not come as a surprise. As we all know, both emergency departments do not have the capacity to cope with the demands they are facing. The report supports this and highlights the ‘lack of capacity’ and ‘capability’ of both departments.

“Rightly, the CQC also reprimands local health bosses for being ‘insufficient’ in bringing forward and implementing ambitious and bold improvements to alleviate the capacity issues. Only now are health bosses stepping up to the mark after significant intervention from myself, my fellow Worcestershire MPs and the Health Secretary.

“Ultimately what this report highlights is the clear and desperate need for both emergency departments at Worcestershire Royal and the Alex to be expanded. And as I’ve previously said, we can ease the burden on Worcester by enabling the expanded A&E at the Alex to treat children in emergency situations once again.

“Disappointingly, health bosses’ plans to this end are only in their early stages. I’m urging them now, given the pressing nature of the crisis in front of them, to develop a fully costed business plan which can be submitted to government. Once submitted, myself and the county’s MPs can lobby the Health Secretary to ensure the case is approved.

“I have a proven track record of delivering for the Alex. When health bosses asked for more money for improvement works at the Alex, I lobbied the government and got our hospital the money it needed. I stand ready to do this again as we need our A&E to be expanded before the situation deteriorates any further.

 “My heavy criticism of the Trust is in no way an attack on the hard-working and dedicated front-line doctors, nurses and all healthcare professionals. Once again the CQC has rightly recognised the professional and caring staff who go above and beyond even in the face of such extreme pressures.

“Despite the report’s findings, now is not the time to call for leadership change. This would just lead to more instability at a time where this Trust needs solid and stable leadership. The leadership team is still relatively new and they need time to turn this ship around.

“I have already had conversations with hospital bosses and I am reassured the Trust has set in motion a plan to respond to the improvements demanded by the CQC. The increase in the number of nurses in the Trust’s A&Es and the increase in the number of senior doctors working in the ED’s Acute Medical team in the afternoons and evenings is very welcome.

“As I have done since I was first elected I will continue to fight for the Alex and for first-class healthcare services. Centralisation of services to a hospital which isn’t big enough to serve an entire county isn’t working and services must be returned to the Alex. This is what I will continue to fight for with the mandate I have from the people of Redditch.”