We have a housing plan but what about a matching hospital plan?
I’m pleased to see Worcester News are giving a weekly update on the performance of Worcester’s hospital. I have nothing but admiration for all the doctors, nurses and all the other staff for their hard work and dedication providing hospital services in very difficult circumstances.
I am however alarmed that it appears common for our hospital to be operating at around 98% of its bed capacity. A safer operational target of 85% would allow flexibility to be able to cope with unforeseen additional demands such as the current outbreak of coronavirus . With the downgrading of A&E at both Redditch and Kidderminster there is an increased pressure on Worcester. Our hospital went into special measures in 2014 and although progress is being made they are, unfortunately, still in special measures. Many of the origins of our current problems stem from our hospital not being built big enough. Right from the beginning massive financial pressures were heaped on our hospital due to the way construction and maintenance have been financed using an expensive and inflexible so called private finance initiative (PFI) funding mechanism.
Worcester City Council is working with the other neighbouring district councils to create the South Worcestershire Development Plan. Lots of effort is going into deciding where all the 14,000 new houses will be built. But I am concerned, to date, I don’t see a transparent matching plan for how the capacity of our local hospital will be increased to meet the demands coming from the new houses being built or indeed to meet the demands of an ageing population. Collectively we must keep up the pressure on the government to take meaningful action to increase hospital capacity.
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Cllr Louis Stephen