Following concerning reports of unacceptable handover delays in Worcestershire, Rachel met with the Minister of State for Health, Steve Barclay, to discuss what more can be done to improve patient handovers.

In recent weeks there have been increasing media reports of long ambulance handover delays at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. As a result, Rachel has been contacted by a number of constituents who are concerned about the situation.

Rachel has been in regular contact with Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust regarding this situation, and has been told patients have been facing long handover delays due to issues with patient flow, which is continuing to have a significant impact on ambulance handovers and emergency access standards.

However, improving patient flow and increasing bed capacity remains a top priority for Rachel and the Trust. A number of major pieces of work are already underway to improve this, including the construction of a link bridge, the refurbishment of the Aconbury East Building and the expansion of the discharge lounge at Worcestershire Royal – all due to be completed before the end of 2018.

By December this year, the refurbishment of the Aconbury East Building will mean more acute beds will be available to treat patients with more complex needs. This will represent an increase in the Trust’s overall acute bed capacity during the coming Winter compared to the same period last year. These new beds will enable the Trust to tackle the immediate pressures facing A&E, as well as putting in place longer term solutions which will help their preparations for Winter.

On Tuesday (October 23rd), Rachel spoke in the House of Commons about this situation, and later that day with met with Health Minister, Steve Barclay, to discuss what more can be done to improve patient handovers.

Rachel said: “Reports of long ambulance handover delays are simply unacceptable. I know my constituents are extremely concerned about this situation, as am I, which is why I questioned Health Ministers in the House of Commons and met with Steve Barclay just hours later to discuss this issue further.

“Clearly there is an issue with patient flow, but steps are being taken to improve this. As a result of my lobbying, the Trust has been given £16million to accelerate refurbishment of the Aconbury East Building, construct a link bridge between the main Worcestershire Royal building and Aconbury East, as well the expansion of the discharge lounge.

“These major projects will increase acute bed capacity and help to improve patient flow. I will of course continue to monitor this situation and will remain in regular contact with the Trust and the Government as plans are developed for this Winter.

“What isn’t helping the situation is minute-by-minute reporting by some sections of the media which is unnerving and demoralising our hardworking NHS staff. The Trust does thoroughly investigate reports of poor care, and takes these complaints very seriously, but all too often ‘insider’ reports pushed by the media don’t always turn out to be completely true.”

At her meeting with the Health Minister, Rachel also discussed the need for the Trust to submit the final business case as soon as possible in order to access the £8million funding for the Alexandra Hospital.

Rachel added: “Of course the Department of Health & Social Care will need to look at and approve the Trust’s bid because Ministers need to ensure taxpayers money is being spent wisely. The Trust’s previous funding bids have been approved within a matter of weeks. I’ll be pushing to ensure the Trust’s bid is approved ASAP – once it’s finally been submitted.”