Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
A motion in respect of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (WAHT) was proposed by Councillor Bill Hartnett. This was seconded by Councillor Greg Chance.
In proposing the motion Councillor Hartnett acknowledged that the information provided in the Leader’s announcements indicated that some problems were being addressed but he suggested that further action was needed. Whilst Councillor Hartnett noted that he was a keen supported of the NHS and valued the work of staff, he highlighted the need for further information about the improvements that had been made to the Trust since the Worcesteshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) had consulted on proposed changes in 2017. There was also a need to clarify how much of the £29 million highlighted during the consultation had been received and how much of this funding had been invested in the different sites managed by the Trust. The Council had previously demonstrated its commitment to supporting the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch by holding a cross-party Health Commission in 2017 which had made a number of recommendations but had not supported the CCGs’ proposals. Since then the Trust had remained in special measures and it had recently been announced that their Chief Executive would be leaving. Councillor Hartnett suggested that the Trust needed to work in partnership with the Council, to ensure services met the needs of residents.
In seconding the motion Councillor Greg Chance commented that the future of the Alexandra Hospital still remained open to question. He therefore suggested that the Council needed to do everything possible to support the hospital and to ensure that key services remained accessible in Redditch.
Following the presentation of the motion Members discussed the services provided by WAHT, particularly at the Alexandra Hospital. A number of Members highlighted the excellent care that they and their families had received from the NHS and there was general consensus that the Alexandra Hospital provided valuable local services. However, it was acknowledged that there were continuing challenges for the Trust, including delays for some appointments, backlogs with ambulance queues and the financial difficulties that were impacting on services.
Concerns were raised that whilst there had been significant financial investment in services at Worcester Royal Hospital there still needed to be further expenditure on the Alexandra Hospital. In addition, concerns were raised that many Redditch residents, particularly those on low incomes who did not have their own transport, could struggle to access services or to meet with friends and relatives at Worcester Royal Hospital where a lot of services were based. The number of visitors utilising the services at the Alexandra Hospital who lived outside the Borough had increased since 2017 and Members raised concerns that this was placing pressure on services. All of these problems were exacerbated by difficulties in terms of recruitment of suitably qualified staff across the NHS.
Council agrees to write to WAHT and the Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG asking both organisations to provide a detailed update to this Council on improvements made to the acute services and the financial stability of the WAHT trust since the end of the last CCG consultation into the review of acute services which concluded April 2017.
How much of the expected and announced investment of £29 million has been actually paid to the WAHT trust following the approval of this consultation?
How much of the funds have been invested at the Redditch Alexandra Hospital site and what plans are in place for investing in this site in the near future?