There are three important things that differentiate a good hospital from a bad one and a good one takes care to balance all three. Safety must be the overwhelming priority in any hospital but efficiency is also vital; people want to be in and out as quickly and comfortably as possible. Last but not least is the standard and quality of care.

In a well run hospital these three things go together, not in conflict but in harmony. Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust must now demonstrate that they can do this.

The recent report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) identifies the Trust as one of three hospitals who have failed to meet essential care standards. The report focused on the quality of care that older patients received and tells a bleak story of people not being helped to eat and drink, with their care needs not assessed and their dignity not respected. This is completely unacceptable and must be addressed urgently.

The hospital of main concern may be the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch which is not actually in my constituency, but many of my constituents do get admitted there and I am extremely alarmed by the recent findings, like everyone in the county.

The Trust, to their credit, have acted quickly, establishing their own independent review into what has happened. I will put pressure on the Trust to ensure that any necessary changes are put in place when the report is published at the end of the month. But the fact remains that, shamefully, they didnít know that the problems existed or that they werenít meeting the standards required by law. The report should establish how these problems went undetected - the Trust will then have to work hard to rebuild its shattered reputation.

Recently I had been getting some reports of concern about patientsí treatment in local hospitals from my constituents. I canít emphasise enough how important it is for you to write to me about your good and bad stories and so help me to monitor the Trust's response to these shocking revelations.


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