Exclusive: Staff defend Worcester’s failing A&E department

A senior nurse and doctor from the Worcestershire Royal Accident and Emergency department have told ITV News Central that patients are getting the care they need, despite recent criticism.

Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust invited ITV News Central cameras in to talk to staff inside the hospital but we weren't able to film in the department because it was busy.

The Trust, which is in special measures, was named and shamed by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt as being one of the worst in the country after reports of long waiting times for patients.

They've spoken to us to reassure the public that despite the headlines, their staff are trying their best to provide high levels of care in A&E:

As is the case in hospitals up and down the country, Worcester has seen increased demand placed upon its services over the winter period.

Director of Delivery and Improvement, Richard Beeken

The Trust haven’t spoken to the media or allowed cameras into either of their hospitals since news broke of the two deaths in A&E over the Christmas and New Year period.

Both patients had been on trolleys waiting for treatment at Worcestershire Royal Hospital's A&E department.

It is understood one female patient on an emergency trolley in a corridor suffered an aneurysm and later died in a resuscitation bay.

Another patient who died after suffering a cardiac arrest had been waiting 35 hours for a ward bed elsewhere in the hospital.

A third patient died on a separate ward in the hospital during the same period.

News of the deaths came as it emerged that overwhelmed A&E departments turned away patients more than 140 times in December.

Worcester's MP Robin Walker held a meeting with the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to a secure a £29 million bid for capital funding to create extra capacity at Worcester's hospital.

Mr Hunt told ITV News that the recent reports of long waits in A&E at the Worcestershire Royal meant he was “most concerned” about the trust.

Since December 2015, Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust has been in specialmeasures after a report by the Care Quality Commission.

The CQC called an urgent meeting or “risk summit” on 22nd December afterconcerns were raised about A&E waiting times at the Worcestershire Royal.

The deaths in A&E came 10 days after this meeting with the Trust was held.

Credit: ITV News Central

CQC is in touch with Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust with regard to the deaths and is liaising with partner agencies with regard to the trust. CQC was among the organisations represented at a risk summit regarding the trust recently and we continue to monitor the trust closely. This will include further inspections.

CQC Statement, January 2016