Writing in this week's Redditch Standard (January 6th), Rachel said:
"I used my last column of 2022 by focussing on my top priority – the Alexandra Hospital - and I will start the new year as I mean to go on by using my first column of 2023 to continue my laser-like focus on delivering for our hospital.
"We saw many positive developments at the Alex last year which I believe demonstrates the Alex isn’t going anywhere.
"The Breast Imaging Unit, a purpose-built extension to the hospital, opened, Rory the Robot was finally installed, paving the way for state-of-the-art robot-assisted surgery to be performed at the Alex, and the groundworks began on the multi-million pound major investment in brand new operating theatres.
"I’m looking forward to seeing these positive developments continue, including the opening of the operating theatres this year which will help to clear the COVID backlogs more quickly.
"As I focus on the year ahead, and having secured the commitment from our Acute Trust to return the Garden Suite to the Alex, I now want to see this service back at our hospital this year – ahead of the Trust’s current timetable of ‘early 2024.’
"I’ve been pragmatic throughout this process, including asking the Trust to investigate housing the Garden Suite in a temporary facility at the Alex until its permanent home in the main hospital building becomes available. My conversations with local health bosses will continue as it’s not right that my constituents might have to continue travelling to Kidderminster for another year. My constituents need this service back at their hospital as soon as possible.
"And of course in 2023 I will continue the fight to return a maternity and children’s service to the Alex. I’m just as frustrated as you are that local health bosses refuse to return these vital services to our hospital, but I’ve never given up on anything in my life and I’m determined to deliver on this promise I’ve made to you. I can assure you I’m doing everything within my power to get these services back, including publishing two detailed and realistic reports setting out how I believe this can be achieved. I will leave no stone unturned in this fight."