Writing in this week’s (August 20th) Redditch Standard, Rachel said:

This week my Alex Working Group reconvened, and I met with bosses from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to discuss the Garden Suite.

Since the very moment we learnt the Garden Suite Chemotherapy Unit had been temporarily re-located to Kidderminster, I’ve been clear and consistent in my belief and desire to see this vital service returned to Redditch’s hospital.

Before the pandemic struck, there was already a chemotherapy suite at Kidderminster. This now means there are currently two chemotherapy units operating from Kidderminster.

If the Alex was to permanently lose the Garden Suite, then it would be the only one of the Acute Trust’s hospitals not to provide chemotherapy. This is a situation that I cannot and will not accept.

As you know, I have been working with Mark Garnier, the MP for Kidderminster, and we’re both making the case for chemotherapy to be provided at all three of the Acute Trust’s hospitals. The Acute Trust’s Chief Executive, Matthew Hopkins, told me this week that this option remains on the table.

The Acute Trust cannot use COVID as a cover to change the way they provide chemotherapy in Worcestershire.

During my meeting, I also made it clear to Mr Hopkins that patients must be properly consulted. Their views must be at the heart of the decision-making process. This process should begin immediately and without delay, especially if bosses intend to make a decision about the future permanent location of the Garden Suite around October and November time. Be in no doubt that I am doing everything I can as your Member of Parliament to ensure the temporary re-location of the Garden Suite remains temporary.

 All three of the Acute Trust’s hospitals must provide chemotherapy, as they did before the pandemic, which means the Garden Suite should be returned to the Alex. I will do everything within my power to ensure this is the decision local health bosses make this Autumn.