As I was saying, the Secretary of State visited Worcestershire Acute and saw the size of the emergency department, which constrains patient flow. Despite the incredible efforts of the staff triage and consultants, and even with the welcome recent investments and improvements, it is difficult to see how those problems can be solved in the short term. Surely, the answer is to let Redditch take some of the strain, particularly with paediatrics.
I appreciate that changes such as this will take time and involve many layers of management, but it is my job to ensure that the people who are making these decisions take into account the experience of my constituents. We are lucky to live in a country with free healthcare, free at the point of use. Investment in health pays off multiple times in both financial and wellbeing terms. Other trusts in the country have managed to recover from poor performance, but we in Worcestershire seem to be struggling on with one of the worst trusts in the country, and it is my constituents who pay the price. I am extremely frustrated that we are no closer to the green shoots of improvement than when I was elected, and there has been a high turnover of people in senior positions, which does not help.
I think that a practical solution to relieve pressure on the overloaded site at Worcester is to provide more care for children and families at Redditch, so I would really like to hear from the Minister what other plans there are to turn this around. What evidence does she have that improvements will take place under the current structure? How long are we expected to wait? What options are there for working more closely with the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, for example—a high-performing trust, which is rated “good” by the Care Quality Commission, with much better transport and strong historical links to Redditch?
I thank the Minister for coming here to reply to the debate. I very much look forward to hearing her response.