10th Dec, 2016

Council backs move to look at disbanding failing hospital trust

Stratford Editorial 17th Dec, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

MEMBERS of Stratford District Council have backed calls for the Secretary of State to investigate the break up of a failing trust.

The Alexandra Hospital in Redditch is among those run by  Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and is responsible for treating a number of patients from Stratford district.

But a damning report released earlier this month branded WAHT as ‘inadequate’ and said it needed to be put in special measures.

It follows an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in July, which highlighted a series of concerns including an over-reliance on agency staff, in particular temporary doctors, and a lack of consultants in A&E.

Inspectors also hit out at overcrowding in A&E and found the mortality rate in the trust’s hospitals to be ‘significantly higher’ than expected.

In addition, they raised concerns over the lack of stability in the trust’s leadership with nearly all its board members on interim contracts.

And this week members of Stratford District Council agreed to support a request for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to investigate the breaking up of WAHT as soon as possible, to abandon the ongoing acute services review and to allow other high performing trusts to provide healthcare services in Worcestershire.

A letter has since been penned by Coun Margaret Sherry, Coun Bill Hartnett, and Coun Chris Saint – leaders of Bromsgrove district, Redditch borough and Stratford district councils, which claims WAHT is ‘unsustainable’ in its current format.

Part of the letter reads: “This latest news (of special measures) has sadly come as no surprise and our fears have been confirmed.

“And no wonder – we have a trust which is in £58million of debt, has transferred the maternity services to Worcester behind our backs and refuses to consult with residents over the health services they want and need.”

MPs for the three areas affected by the trust – including Stratford’s Nadhim Zahawi – have secured a meeting with the chief executive of NHS Improvement – the authority responsible for turning around the trust.

The meeting, which is expected to take place in the early New Year, will see the MPs hear first-hand about plans for transformation of Worcestershire Acute Trust.