Tag Archives: Robin Walker

PHEW! Robin Walker MP Praises Cancer Care in South Worcestershire

Honorary Good News Champion Robin Walker MP speaks about Cancer Care

Honorary Good News Champion Robin Walker MP speaks about Cancer Care

We had a scare last week. I’m not saying who or what but it involved a lump, a lot of worry and thoughts of cancer. Visions and pictures of unending months flashed across our eyes and then, in a flash, they were gone thanks to a speedy consultation and an all clear! PHEW! But, of course, we are well aware of others for whom the PHEW didn’t come. And who needed treatment. So it is with relief and pride that I received the post below from a local politician.

Now I know it’s a risky business publishing politicians’ words. Some with think I’m acting as a political mouthpiece! Some, naively that I’m being used; some that the words can’t be trusted.

And, of course, this blog is apolitical! But I can only speak as I find. And, irrespective of politics, I have found Robin Walker MP a friend of this blog, and a friend and supporter of Worcestershire Acute Trust and particularly of my hospital, The Royal, which is in his constituency.

In fact he was one of those who supported the blog when it was in its infancy and championed it- even becoming my first MP Guest Blogger. So here are some words and stats below from Mr. Walker. They show the amazing cancer care in South Worcestershire; care which I see day in day out at my hospital as well as elsewhere. It’s a good news story. This is a good news blog! Nuff Said!!


Worcester’s MP Robin Walker met Macmillan earlier this week to discuss the new £24 million Worcestershire Oncology Centre at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the direction in which the local Clinical Commissioning Group has embraced the Worcestershire Cancer Strategy it inherited from the PCT.


Robin has welcomed public figures that demonstrate South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group is performing better on cancer care compared to the improving English average performance on cancer care.
The Figures are publicly available from the Local Cancer Intelligence Toolkit which can be found via http://lci.cancertoolkit.co.uk/ – 9,600 people in South Worcestershire were living with and beyond cancer up to 20 years after diagnosis. This could rise to an estimated 18,700 by 2030. They show that the rate of diagnosis in the area is similar to the English average with 593 diagnoses of cancer per 100,000 people, but the mortality rate is lower with 264 cancer deaths each year, lower than the English average of 290. More detailed figures also show that the CCG is outperforming on breast cancer, lung cancer and urology.

Patient experience is also outperforming with 89% of people in South Worcestershire rating their cancer care as excellent or very good.

Robin campaigned as Parliamentary Candidate to keep head and neck cancer surgery at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and as MP has spoken up for both bringing radiotherapy to the hospital and in support of the Worcestershire Breast Unit campaign. He has supported the Government’s cancer drugs fund, which has delivered extra support to 55,000 people a year. He is a member of the APPG for Cancer and of the APPG for hospices and palliative care.



“It is remarkable how cancer survival rates have been improving in recent years. It is an enormous credit to our NHS and in particular; to the dedicated doctors and nurses who deliver care in our County that these figures have continued to improve and continue to beat an ever improving set of national statistics for England. Although these figures appear as bare numbers; they are in fact a representation of lives saved or made bearable, families supported and people cared for.”

“I am incredibly proud of our NHS in Worcestershire and in addition, proud to keep fighting as Worcester’s MP for more investment and funding for it and proud of the amazing people who make it work.”


“I recall meeting with the head and neck cancer team at our hospital a few months ago and some of the patients in their support group whose lives have been saved. Their stories are an inspiration and demonstrate the incredible truth behind these statistics. Of course I appreciate that not everyone survives cancer and I am only too aware from bitter family experience that cancer still kills people before their time. However, it is an enormous credit to our NHS that the mortality rate both nationally and in Worcestershire continues to fall each year. Where people need end of life care we are incredibly lucky to have the amazing residential and outpatient facilities of St Richard’s Hospice and I will keep campaigning to support palliative care and the hospice movement.”


“With the new radiotherapy unit due to open next year at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the Breast Unit campaign making headway, there are exciting developments ahead for our local NHS and its visionary cancer strategy.

It is a credit to the South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group that they have maintained their focus on delivering this and kept the strong vision which was set out by their predecessors. It is positive that Macmillan have worked together with Public Health England and I would recommend that constituents look at these figures for themselves to see what a difference it is already making.”


So it seems again, that Worcestershire NHS is in good spirits. And lump or no lump, I for one am grateful!

AVON 4: “Patients so well cared for!” An unannounced Visit

Robin Walker on an vist to AVON 4

Robin Walker on an vist to AVON 4

I haven’t blogged for a while because my last post was so emotional that I had to take some time.

And now here we are. In case you haven’t kept up, Avon 4 is in the Aconbury block. In previous posts I have praised Wendy Bull for the way in which she leads this ward. She is fair, firm, enthusiastic and a motivator of staff. She leads by example and is as likely to be found with patients as she is anywhere else.

And it so happened that I bumped into her in the main entrance of Worcestershire Royal the other day. “Make sure on your blog that you give my staff a mention. They are wonderful and hard working even under the pressures they face. They always have time for patients and show real care and compassion.”

Now when Wendy asks (or tells) me to do something I do it (not like I’m scared of her or anything) but just becasue she is a complete star! But you might think “she would say that wouldn’t she”.

But it just so happens that I can back this up. Not by my own words but by the words of Robin Walker MP who visited the Hospital today. He spent some time shadowing me and this time, with no one but us two, we could go where we liked. I suggested that we went to AVON 4– partly because it is in the older part of the hospital and can be forgotten.

We were welcomed by Sister Rachael who, without stage managing or hiding anything, introduced us to some patients. They were pleased to see Robin and, to a patient, all of them said how well cared for they were and how kind the staff were.

Not a set up- they could have said anything.

And later in the day Robin Walker MP Tweeted this, with a picture of him and Rachael.

“Tks to @revdavesouthall for taking me round and being photographer! Great to meet patients so well cared for pic.twitter.com/4cXxfkLg0c “

Now it’s tempting to think that the Nurses had chance to scurry round and do things properly. But they had only 5 minutes notice that we were coming. And what Robin saw, I am proud to say, was a normal ward on a normal day.

It strikes me that this is important. We all know the travesty of the OFSTED reports where schools are given so much notice and put huge preparations into making everything just right. Well that shows what can happen when organisations are on their best behaviour.

Chatting to my Chaplain Colleague Rev Guy Hewlett afterwards, he saw the power in this. As an ex-Custody Suite Seargant for the Police he told me of the Lay Visitors who could visit at any time, day or night, with no notice at all. And that is the spirit in which I took the MP around.

After all, we have nothing to hide. And everything to show. And the openness and transparency of Robin’s visit proved this. Hard working and caring staff doing the work they do day in day out. Outstanding.

And I can tell you this. I would be proud and happy to take Robin or any other visitor to any of our wards at WRH to see the tremendous work that goes on. I have confidence in this place, in my colleagues and their care.

Who knows, perhaps we should think of a team of Lay Visitors who could come in whenever they liked to our Hospitals. Openness and Transparency are our watchwords in the NHS at the moment. Anyone can perform to a test or pre-planned visit. But it won’t tell you as much. And in fact we do have such a team- the relatives of family members who always see what is going on.

So well done AVON 4, Sister Wendy Bull and Rachael on the Team on duty this morning. And thank you Robin Walker for helping me make the point and keeping it real.


Honorary Good News Champion Robin Walker MP speaks about the annual Staff Achievement Awards

Honorary Good News Champion Robin Walker MP speaks about the annual Staff Achievement Awards

It’s an honour to hand the Chaplain’s Blog over to my first Guest Blogger: Robin Walker MP for Worcester. Robin speaks about his attendance at the Staff Achievement awards and casts an eye over the work of the Acute Trust. As a friend of the hospital and an honorary Good News Champion his comments mean a lot, and I was particularly proud to have him present my award.

“Coming to the Worcestershire Royal for the Acute Trust’s staff achievement awards last week I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. One of the very enjoyable things about being a constituency MP is that you do get invited to a number of special occasions and award ceremonies of all shapes and sizes sometimes even getting to present awards. All of them are special but last week’s was particularly wonderful and a powerful reminder of the amazing dedication and teamwork of so many passionate, hard working people in the NHS.

With awards for all levels and different roles at the hospital it was a whistle stop tour of the many different skills and careers that fit within the acute trust. Like many members of the public I was familiar with some but others needed explanation. Hearing the brief introductions of why people were excited to be nominated and the nominees explaining why they were putting them forward the one thing that kept on coming up again and again was the pride in teamwork and the huge respect and appreciation of one colleague for another. The passion for looking after patients was clear throughout and it was great to see a patient’s choice award being presented too.

There were too many deserving winners to list them all but I was particularly impressed with Frank the volunteer in his nineties who is still delivering the morning papers at the hospital. After a tough week for the A&E department it seemed somehow appropriate that the CEO’s award should go to junior charge nurse Marc Tarrant from the unit. At the end of the evening I was proud to be called to present the Chairman’s award. With so many incredible people nominated it must have been a hard decision for the judges but I was delighted when it turned out to be destined for a familiar face.

Reverend David Southall, who amidst all his other duties as a busy hospital chaplain somehow finds time to put together the good news blog does a wonderful job of reminding us all how much good news there is every hour of every day in the hospital and celebrating the achievements of all his colleagues. It was somehow appropriate that having toured the hospital at his invitation not so long ago, it should be to him that I presented the award. The whole night was a celebration of everyone who works at the hospital and, like this blog, it was a reminder that amidst all the challenges, the miracle that is our NHS is all about people.”

Break the Stereotype- See the Person: Frankie Cocozza, an MP, Ivy and Stan

Frankie Cocozza signs Charlie's T-Shirt

Frankie Cocozza signs Charlie’s T-Shirt

Frankie Cocozza hugs my daughter Suzy and likes her Fred Perry T-Shirt!

Frankie Cocozza hugs my daughter Suzy and likes her Fred Perry T-Shirt!

Sometimes I think my life is weird and it seems to go from the sublime to the ridiculous. So I thought I’d write about the last few days and the people I have met. Now we all have to make sense of the world as best we can; and I choose to do it by (in my best moments) treating everyone as a unique person. It is so easy to slip into stereotyping people- the pop star, the MP, the old lady etc. etc. etc. I try to avoid this, and it makes for interesting times. Here are some people where seeing beyond the stereotypes enriches everyone.

On Friday night I took part in a debate with Robin Walker MP. OK, MP’s are not flavour of the month. Seen as power hungry, agenda driven, expense laden, out of touch. But to hear Robin speak you couldn’t help but be impressed. Here is someone who is passionate about the NHS, wants to do his best, and lives by his late father’s mantra: “Efficiency with compassion.” Beyond the stereotype is someone who is giving himself to public service in a sacrificial way spending huge hours trying to make the community a better place.

On Saturdy morning, I was called into Worcester Royal. Ivy (not her real name) had died and, whilst the family had gone home, the said they would be comforted by some prayers for her. As I entered the room, I saw this frail lady who had passed onto another journey. So easy to see just this fraction of her life. But if we look beyond the stereotype, we see someone who has lived to a good age, has contributed to the common good, has produced children who are still making an impact on the world. Laughed and loved; faced challenges and trials some of which she overcame; and will be missed. The world is diminished because Ivy is no longer with us.

On Saturday evening I was called into Worcester Royal again. This time to Stan (not his real name) who was in his 80’s. He was facing some challenges. So easy to see the poorly old man in hospital. Yet Stan, not a religious man, wanted God’s help. “God came to my aid several times when I was in the War and I want him to help me again.” Here is a man who served his country, has lived a good life, has countless experiences which, if we could only listen, would give us fresh insight. We prayed together and on seeing him a day later he said what a difference that had made. But it had made a difference to me too as we laughed together and he shared some of the stories of his life.

On Sunday I went down to Brighton with my daughter Suzy who had done a first class job of manipulating Dad to get her way. She wanted to go to a charity day. The day was in aid of a young man who had died and had donated his organs(http://www.connors5.com/home). This selfless action has had an impact on others and had helped 6 people who would not be around today. And at this event, in a football stadium in Peacehaven, some of his friends had come together to raise money and remember Connor. One such friend was Frankie Cocozza. My impression of him previously (and this is where I failed in my aim of always trying to see the person) was of a jumped up little no talent oik (sorry Frankie) who got booted off the X-Factor. But seeing him on Sunday, with no airs and graces, happily having his photo taken with his fans and signing my duagters’ T shirts I changed my mind. He was a man who was helping support something worthwhile; supporting a community; and making a difference.

So don’t believe all that you read. See the person. Work hard to listen. And the most extraordinary things come come of that. By all means, keep all your stereotypes if you like, even stereotypes of the Chaplain, but your life won’t be as rich and you’ll miss out on so much.

Worcestershire MP’s Support Hospital Good News Campaign

I am delighted that Peter Luff MP, Harriet Baldwin MP and Robin Walker MP have supported the Celebrating Worectershire Hospitals Good News Campaign.

Peter’s comments are shown in the post below.

Harriet Baldwin MP tweeted: “What a lovely idea” @HBaldwinMP and hopes the local press will get behind the campaign.

MP Robin Walker emailed: “What an excellent initiative. I think this is a great idea and I would certainly like to support it. I
would be delighted to do what I can to draw attention to your blog and your important work.”

I am really glad that we all seem to have hit a nerve here. Do keep your good news stories coming in. Go to the CONTACT ME tab.