TOP talks have been held between Redditch’s political leaders and health chiefs from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
MP Rachel Maclean and Councillor Bill Hartnett, Leader of Redditch Borough Council, last Friday met with Trust chief executive Michelle McKay, chairman Caragh Merrick, and Simon Trickett, the Accountable Officer for Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group of local doctors.
One of the focuses of the meeting was on the recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection which maintained the Trust’s ‘Inadequate’ rating .
Mrs Maclean and Coun Hartnett were keen to discover what steps the Trust was taking to improve this situation and to find out more about the level of staff recruitment.
They were assured there were tangible signs of improvement since the inspection while recruitment was healthy to reduce the Trust’s reliance on costly agency staff by taking on permanent staff.
Mrs Merrick added that it was the Trust’s intention to run a balanced budget within the next three to four years after residents’ concerns about the financial viability of the organisation were raised.
Mrs Maclean and Coun Hartnett were told this would be achieved by better procurement practices, ongoing efficiencies and by reducing the agency staff bill.
“It was great to join with Councillor Hartnett to discuss the recent CQC inspection with Michelle McKay and what it means for our Alex,” said Mrs Maclean.
“Our hospital should not be a party-political issue and I will always work with others, no matter which party they are from, to fight together in the best interests of our Alex.
“The Trust has undergone great difficulties and our residents have been let down by those making the decisions at a high level, even though front line staff are first class. We deserve better, and at the meeting it was acknowledged there is more still to do.”
Coun Hartnett, who had called for the meeting, had sought reassurances that robust plans were in place to ensure the improvements continued.
He said: “To ensure that all residents receive high quality health care we all want to see the staff at the Alex supported and the best possible services delivered. For this to happen we need to see the long-awaited investment from the Government being delivered.”
It was acknowledged that local doctors have had their proposals approved for the future delivery of the acute services.
The meeting also heard the CQC had carried out further inspections in specific areas where they had raised concerns, with a further report to be published later in the year year.
Coun Hartnett also repeated the offer of practical help from the council and a commitment to working together where they could.