Rachel Maclean, the MP for Redditch County, has welcomed news that Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has submitted a bid to the Department for Health & Social Care totalling £8million to help increase bed capacity.

David Nicholson, the newly appointed Interim Chair of the Trust’s Board, confirmed the bid submission to Rachel during their phone call on Thursday (May 17th).

During their phone call, Rachel made it clear that Mr Nicholson needs to continue the progress that was made under his predecessor in improving the Trust. Rachel also stressed the importance of getting the Trust out of special measures as soon as possible.

The bid for £8million submitted by the Trust, which would be a further advance from the capital funding pot, would enable the Trust to accelerate refurbishment of the Aconbury East Building at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. This will then allow the Trust to provide an additional 40 acute beds ahead of next Winter.

So far, thanks to Rachel’s lobbying efforts, the Department has already released £3million to the Trust to construct a link bridge between the main Worcestershire Royal Hospital building and the Aconbury East Building. This construction work is underway and will unlock the space the Trust needs to provide the additional 40 acute beds.

The Department has also recently approved the Trust’s other application to draw down £5million from the capital funding pot. This will be spent on a number of emergency projects, including improving the safety of the Trust’s estate to enhance the quality of patient services.

Now the Trust has submitted the further bid for £8million, Rachel will be lobbying Health Minister Stephen Barclay to approve the Trust’s bid as soon as possible so that work on the Aconbury East Building can start by the end of May.

Although the Trust has received a significant amount of the capital funding, and will hopefully receive a further cash boost soon, Rachel is once again urging health bosses to get on and submit the full business case to the Department as soon as possible so the Trust can access the remainder of the capital funding.

The rest of the cash boost will be spent on upgraded maternity wards, theatres and children’s services at the Worcestershire Royal, while the Alex will get millions of pounds to pay for improvements to the elective care centre, endoscopy, children’s outpatients and an upgrade in theatres.

Rachel continues to remain in regular contact with the Trust’s Chief Executive, Michelle McKay, on the progress of the full business case.

Rachel said: “The Alex and the Trust continues to be my number one priority and that’s why I made sure to speak with David Nicholson just days after his appointment.

“I made it very clear to Mr Nicholson on the phone that he has a big job in front of him and he needs to crack on with improving the Trust. The Trust is currently letting patients down and it is his job to put that right.

“I very much welcome the news the Trust has submitted a further bid for £8million. This will enable the Trust to increase acute bed capacity and I believe this will help to reduce the pressures the hospital will face next Winter. Of course, this is not a silver bullet, but this funding will go a long way in supporting our county’s hospital.

“Following my phone call with Mr Nicholson, I have already written to the Health Minister, Stephen Barclay, to urge him to approve the Trust’s £8million bid as soon as possible. I will be using every opportunity in Parliament to lobby the Department for Health & Social Care on this bid, as I have done on previous funding bids since I was elected last year.

“It continues to be the case that the ball is still in the Trust’s court regarding the full business case. I am in regular contact with the Trust’s Chief Executive, Michelle McKay, who continues to update me on the progress of the full business case. I understand residents’ frustrations that the Trust has still not received the remaining capital funding, but I am doing everything I can to support the Trust, as well as lobbying the Department, to get the millions of pounds worth of funding to where it is urgently needed as soon as possible.”

Rachel added: “The Trust and the NHS needs more doctors and nurses across the board and I’m already lobbying the Chancellor on this ahead of his Budget. I welcome the fact that from September 2018, the number of medical school places will increase by up to a quarter, meaning up to 1500 more student places a year, the second largest increase in the NHS’s history. There are also more doctors and nurses working at our local Trust since 2010.

“I also believe medical staff recruitment needs to work hand-in-hand with a robust strategy to tackle avoidable and preventable conditions that are placing additional demand on the NHS. To this end I welcome news that the Government will be developing an obesity strategy soon and this is something I’ve had conversations with Ministers about.”