Writing in this week’s (February 19th) Redditch Standard, Rachel said:

“Given the Alexandra Hospital’s history, I share residents’ concerns when we’re told by local NHS bosses that a service has been temporarily moved to another hospital.

“The reasons for temporarily relocating the chemotherapy unit, also known as the Garden Suite, from the Alex to Kidderminster Hospital during this pandemic is completely understandable and, like me, I’m sure residents will understand the reasons why.

“With the Alex treating coronavirus patients, we must ensure clinically vulnerable cancer patients in need of chemotherapy are kept safe and receive care in the safest possible environment. By moving the chemotherapy unit to Kidderminster Hospital during this pandemic, cancer patients will continue receiving the care they need.

“Given all of this, I still understand residents’ concerns when local NHS bosses tell them the move is temporary. We’re all well aware of the Alex’s history and being told the past transfer of services was temporary. I share these concerns and anxiety.

“Having visited the Garden Suite myself, it really struck me how much it meant to patients that they could be treated locally for something so traumatic as chemotherapy. It is my hope it remains that way when the pandemic is over and cancer patients can be safely treated again at the Alex.

“My position on this temporary move is clear. Once it is safe to do so, the Garden Suite should be returned to the Alex.

“Through my Alex Working Group, I will continue to hold our Acute Trust to account as my constituents re-elected me to do.”