Writing for the Redditch Standard (July 23rd), Rachel said:

Given the Alexandra Hospital’s history, I know it’s hard, putting it mildly, to believe local health bosses when they say the re-location of the Garden Suite chemotherapy unit from the Alexandra Hospital to Kidderminster is temporary.

But at two meetings in just four days, health bosses continued to repeat just that, that the relocation remains a temporary measure during the pandemic in order to keep immunosuppressed chemotherapy patients safe.

Of course I share the same scepticism as you when it comes to believing what local health bosses have to say. I’m not naïve. I sit in these meetings I attend with the history of the Alex at the forefront of my mind.

However, and despite this, I must still engage with local health bosses. They are responsible for running the hospital services which my constituents access and depend on.

And when it comes to hospital services, I want to see the Garden Suite returned to the Alex. As I’ve consistently said, temporary must mean temporary.

On Monday (July 19th) at the County Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Paul Brennan, Chief Operating Officer of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, told Councillors that the Trust will be making a final decision about the chemo unit’s future permanent location towards the “end of the calendar year.”

I’ll be meeting with the Trust again soon to press for more details and to continue applying as much pressure as I can to ensure this move remains temporary.

I don’t want to see any of our hospitals losing services, which is why I’m also making the case to health bosses that ambulatory chemotherapy should be provided at all three of their hospitals.

However, should the Trust decide they want to keep the Garden Suite at Kidderminster, and given the Alex’s history I’m preparing for all scenarios, then they’ll be required to carry out a formal consultation.

Should we reach this point, I’ll do everything within my power to ensure residents and patients are properly consulted and that your voices are heard.