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Speaking after a visit to the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust on Friday, Sir Peter Luff reflected on the changes he has seen over his twenty three years as a Worcestershire MP saying,

“I now receive more letters and emails of praise for our local hospitals than of complaint. Even in the most challenging area – Accident and Emergency – I have been receiving messages of praise for the treatment local people have received.

“This is a real transformation from the situation when I was first elected in 1992. We should be proud of what our hospitals are achieving.”

On his last constituency engagement as a Member of Parliament on Friday (20th), Sir Peter Luff was given a tour of the new Meadow Birth Centre and the new Oncology Centre at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital. He met staff of both centres to discuss their work and was given a brief on the performance of the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust.

After the visit Sir Peter commented,

“When I was first elected in 1992, the old Worcester Royal Infirmary was, to put it bluntly, not a good place to be ill. The staff worked hard and conscientiously but patients were still being treated in the so-called “Nightingale” wards – the conditions were simply not fit for the 20th Century, never mind the 21st.

“My visit on Friday showed me just what a transformation there has been over the last twenty three years. The new Worcestershire Royal Hospital now has excellent facilities and the new birthing and oncology centres are state of the art.

“At the briefing, I was shown how the Trust is performing. Yes, there are problems around meeting the Accident and Emergency target, but overall, and despite what the media and campaigners lead you to believe, it is clear that our county’s hospitals are making good progress and getting very good results in most areas.

“More money is being spent on more doctors and nurses, more beds and more operations across all three sites – Worcester, Redditch and Kidderminster.”

According to Worcester Acute Hospitals Trust data, over the last five years spending has gone up from £321. 8 million to £361.5 million; elective operations are up from 53,120 to 76,918; the number of consultants is up by 20%, and of nurses and midwives by 12%; MRSA has disappeared and the number of Cdiff cases has been slashed; and the number of inpatient beds is up from 774 to 799.

Sir Peter continued,

“While there are problems that need to addressed, there are massive success stories, the Meadow Birth Centre and the Oncology Centre being just two of these. The Worcestershire Breast Care Unit is due to open later this year too.

“If you have cancer, Worcestershire is fast becoming one of the best places in the country to be treated. Our ophthalmology service is the already the best one of its kind in England; only last week the department at Worcestershire Royal Hospital was named the best in the country for patients with glaucoma.”

“Although the Trust is doing well, there are two remaining and related problems – Accident & Emergency and delayed transfers of care.

“Too many hospital beds are being occupied by patients, typically elderly ones, who have been treated and no longer need to be in hospital and who would get more suitable care at home.

“Another way to relieve the pressures on A&E is to encourage patients to attend Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) where possible.

“I was disturbed to learn from staff at the hospital of the inconsistency of the opening hours and access to X-Ray facilities at MIUs in Evesham, Malvern, Tenbury, Kidderminster and Bromsgrove. As a result, both ambulance staff and patients are left confused and so understandably head to a major A&E at Redditch or Worcester to be on the safe side. Many of these patients would have had more appropriate care closer to home if they’d used an MIU instead.

“I have written to the Chief Executive of the Worcestershire Health and Care Trust, which runs these MIUs, to see whether changes can be made to make opening times more consistent and help with the county’s A&E problem.

“If we can get more people attending MIUs, that would really reduce the pressure on the two A&E departments.”

Sir Peter also met staff who shared their thoughts about working in the Acute Trust. He said,

“I am always impressed by the hard work and dedication of NHS staff in Worcestershire– so I was saddened to hear their frustration with the attacks of campaigners and with the media who always seem to give prominence to negative stories about our hospitals. All the staff in the Worcestershire Acute Trust work exceptionally hard, often in difficult circumstances and they should receive praise and gratitude for the work they do. “


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