Following the removal of maternity and children’s services from the Alexandra Hospital , with the aim of improving outcomes for patients, Rachel has become increasingly concerned with the failure of the centralisation plan.

The Future of Acute Hospital Services in Worcestershire Review in 2017 led to the loss of maternity and in-patient services for children at the Alex and to their transfer to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Two years later, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Alex and the Worcestershire Royal, remains in special measures.

Rachel said: “Almost two years on from the removal of maternity and children’s services from the Alex, it’s clear to me that the vast majority of people in Redditch are still not happy with this situation.

“I have done my absolute best to hold the Acute Trust to account, to explain to my constituents why services were transferred to Worcester with the aim of leading to better patient experience and outcomes.

“However, I do not believe I can continue, in good faith, to defend this.

“As I see it, the centralisation of hospital services isn’t delivering for Redditch. The transfer of services to Worcester hasn’t relieved pressures on the hospital, and what I hear from my constituents, and front-line staff, is that pressures on our local health services are continuing, despite more funding from central government with the biggest cash boost in the NHS’ history on its way.

“Our town continues to grow as new houses are built and families move to Redditch. Residents are rightly asking me what this means for the future of the Alex and for health services in our town. If we are to truly unlock Redditch and create a great place to live, work and raise a family, then good local healthcare must be a central part of our offer.

Rachel will be working with all stakeholders in Redditch and will be meeting with the CCG and the Acute Trust soon to discuss the ongoing issues with centralisation.

“We need to look again at where and how services are provided, including a return of a range of maternity and paediatric services to the Alex, and more options for the local population to use Birmingham services, which are more accessible than Worcester. If the problem is shortage of staff, then let’s build a medical school to create our own local workforce, ready to work in our county,” Rachel added.

“Worcestershire is one of the fastest growing local economies in the whole country, and so we need to plan for the future and I believe all options must remain on the table.”