Wyre Forest’s Conservative MP Mark Garnier has launched an astonishing attack on the management of Worcestershire Royal Hospital, blaming it for a crisis in A&E and for “letting down” dedicated doctors and nurses.
In a Facebook post today, Mr Garnier says the trust has been “in denial” about the extent of the problems at the hospital, which made national headlines and TV news last week after two A&E patients died.
His onslaught is in the light of a personal visit to A&E with a patient last year, when he claimed he found a service that was “chaotic, badly run and incredibly poorly designed.”
He further goes on to claim that in a meeting with the then acting chief executive – who he does not identify by name – he raised his concerns and received back a report which “confirmed they are in complete denial about the extent of their problems.”
In his Facebook post he says: “The problems at the hospital continue to get worse. The A&E department has been the subject of national media – yet again – as two patients have died waiting for treatment in the A&E department. But the hospital has been underperforming for some time and this is completely unacceptable.”
The hospital was in the full glare of the media spotlight last week after two patients died at the hospital in quick succession.
One patient died from a cardiac arrest after a 35 hour wait in A&E. Another, who had an aneurysm, died in the resuscitation area. The hospital has since confirmed that neither patient died in A&E or in corridors, as has been previously reported.
Garnier, who represents constituents in Kidderminster, Bewdley and Stourport and surrounding villages, added: “The issue is clearly management.”
He added that he and his fellow MPs in Worcestershire have been in regular contact with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to highlight their worries.
“I look forward to working proactively with the new managers when they are fully in place,” he added.
The Trust has had a series of management changes in the past 12 months. Its current acting chief executive, Rob Cooper, took up his temporary post in December and will be in place until new permanent chief executive Michelle McKay takes over in March.
Today a Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust spokesman said the trust continued to welcome Mr Garnier’s intervention and confirmed the MP was due to meet trust chairman Caragh Merrick next week.
“We recognise Mr Garnier’s frustration at the lack of a permanent management team. Our new chairman is working to rectify this. We do apologise if Mr Garnier feels he has been misled at any time in the past.”
He added: “Our A&E departments at Worcester and Redditch continue to treat emergencies and are providing the very best service we can.
“Both of our A&E departments experienced an extremely busy Christmas and New Year period and these pressures are continuing. We have robust plans to deal with such demand and partners across the NHS have supported us in ensuring that patient safety and emergency care are maintained.
“Our focus continues to be on providing safe emergency care.”
Mr Garnier confirmed he wrote his Facebook post, which also appeared in a column he writes for the Kidderminster Shuttle, because of his continued frustration at the health situation in the county.
“I am though looking forward to meeting with the Trust chairman to discuss future plans.”
Robin Walker, Conservative MP for Worcester, added: “I am focussed on ensuring all health organisations both nationally and locally are doing everything they can to sure the safety of patients and to improve the situation in Worcestershire.”
Labour has called for a £700 million emergency cash injection to ease the winter crisis, while calls for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to resign after failing to foresee the current A&E debacle are growing.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, earlier this week, said: “The fact is this government have repeatedly failed to put the necessary resources into our health service, while they have cut social care and wasted billions on a top-down reorganization to accelerate privatization.
And despite finding billions of tax giveaways for big business and the richest, Theresa May’s Conservatives failed to find a single penny for the NHS in their autumn statement.
Our NHS cannot survive if this government does not change course.”
The full text of Mr Garnier’s Facebook post is here: