Dear Jeremy Hunt. Worcestershire Acute is not a “BASKET CASE”.


Dear Jeremy Hunt MP,

I watched you on the TV last night express your concern for Worcestershire Hospital saying that it is “probably the hospital you are most worried about.”

Indeed the recently nationally reported events have been tragic and none more than our hospital staff share in the sadness of these occurrences.

However, we are far from being the “basket case” which the media have painted us out to be, although that is not to deny the serious challenges which face us, and many hospitals in the country at the moment. And if you take time to read social media posts from consultants, medical professionals and experienced nursing and health care staff across England you will see that this is the case.

It is so easy (not to mention lazy journalism) to scapegoat one hospital to deny the reality of the whole situation; and, in fairness, I think that is perhaps what is going on with Worcestershire Acute Trusts media profile at present.

However, I count it a privilege to serve as Lead Chaplain in this Trust and I can’t tell you how amazing and dedicated the staff are in the pursuit of their work. Day in and day out they do amazing things on behalf of the people of Worcestershire, and it would be good if this is recognised too. I know that “hospital does its job” is not front page news, but all this bad news does nothing for staff morale and public confidence in our hospitals – and indeed in the NHS in its entirety.

You are, of course, correct that we are in special measures and await the outcome of a recent CQC inspection. And my hope is that a new leadership team, with our excellent new Chairman and Chief Executive, will bring the improvements which will again restore our reputation to the people of Worcestershire.

But in the meantime, as a resident of this fine county, I can say with certainty that I am happy for myself and my family to be treated on any ward in any of our hospitals and know that they would get kind compassionate and professional care.

Dare I suggest that the real issue here is lack of funding for our hospitals. You will know that at the inception of the Worcestershire Royal Hospital concern was raised by elected representatives that the hospital was too small for its purpose.

Perhaps you might ease our situation by considering how we move on from here in conjunction with the other stakeholders in our health economy.

Indeed, this might ameliorate the current scapegoating of the hospital which I love.

With all good wishes for a Happy New Year.

Rev’d Dr. David Southall
Lead Chaplain- Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

7 responses to “Dear Jeremy Hunt. Worcestershire Acute is not a “BASKET CASE”.

  1. Well said David. I was only saying to my husband earlier this afternoon, before I saw your letter, ‘it could have been any hospital in the country in this position’. I agree with all you have said. Thank you for writing this letter and making it clear to people that the staff are doing everything they can to keep the hospital running properly.

  2. Rev Paul Whieldon

    Well said David.

  3. Well said David. I trained at worcester in 1996, and worked there for many years before that as a aux nurse. I also worked in the A&E dept, at the old ronkswood and the WRH. Many of the nurses i worked with still work there, and are very highly trained and dedicated nurses. My husband has had to have several admissions to the dept over the years due to a heart and chronic lung condition, and a car accident, and i can honestly say i could not fault any aspect of the care he recieved. People should be aware they are critizising the wrong people, As its not the fault the staff of WRH who are trying hard to deliver care, to more patients than the department is designed to hold. It is the polititians who have not spent our taxes wisely, in a area where most people would wish it to be spent. And not on there over inflated expenses.

  4. Well done hospital chaplain for speaking out; and to think that 11 years ago Worcester got rid (or wanted to) of its chaplains!

  5. Well said, David! I have just shared your blog on my Facebook page with my comments on it. I am in entire agreement with all that you say. I have experience of Worcester Royal Infirmary on three levels,
    1. The care given to my younger daughter over a number of years by Dr Scanlon and his team to my younger daughter who has Type 1 Diabetes.
    2. Emergency surgery to my older daughter when an anaesthetist struggled through a snow bound county so that it could happen.
    3. Visiting parishoners as a priest.

    I have always had a sense of being in a place where the staff care about the quality of their work and care about the people for whom they have responsibility. That Jeremy Hunt should choose to make NHS staff responsible for the inadequacy of government policy and of NHS funding is, quite frankly, pathetic. Please take opportunity to pass supportive messages onto staff. I will certainly take opportunities to get people to send their messages of support.

  6. The truth is not so acceptable after your mind is made up how do we get the message across? David you have told it well let’s hope it has the desired effec. Regards DOUG (Alex)

  7. Thank you for speaking up for Worcestershire Royal and its patients. Well done!

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