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