Stourbridge News Column, 26th July 2018

Stourbridge News Column – Thursday 26th July 2018

As readers of my previous column will know I remain concerned about Russell’s Hall. People locally need to know that there is a safe and reliable emergency service at the hospital. Last year, its Accident and Emergency Department was rated ‘Inadequate’ by the CQC. I did expect improvements this year, which I am afraid do not appear to have been forthcoming. This has been exacerbated by a shortage of consultants in the field nationally. I was also surprised to read a quote from the hospital on the front page of The Dudley Chronicle, saying that nurses leaving were just ‘natural turnover’. To me, it seems more natural to do everything possible to retain staff at a time when the public gaze is firmly fixed on this issue.

Over the last few months, I have spoken to local doctors and have met the hospital’s board twice, as well as its Chief Executive with my colleagues Mike Wood MP, James Morris MP and Ian Austin MP. I have also met local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) leaders. Having now had these meetings, I believe that what is needed is a full and objective investigation into what is going on at the hospital. My colleagues and I have also talked to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and NHS Improvement (NHSI) and we were reassured that NHSI are now actively supporting Russells Hall Hospital as it seeks to put in place the necessary improvements to the emergency department. I am pleased that there is an inquiry taking place, and it is vital that this inquiry is fully independent. I will continue to press this issue along with other Dudley MPs, until I am confident that our hospital is on the right footing.

This month I also chaired a public meeting to allow local residents to view and ask questions about the plans to build homes on the former Longlands School site. Also in attendance were Persimmon Homes, who are proposing the development, and the three local Wollaston and Stourbridge Town Councillors. Several points were raised at the meeting by local residents, including impact on the local road infrastructure, wildlife and education facilities. I welcome the fact that the application proposes a solution to the longstanding issues of anti-social behaviour and vandalism that has affected nearby residents, and I am committed to ensuring that resident’s views are heard during the planning process. I have collated much of the feedback that was provided at the meeting and relayed this information in a formal letter to the Council.

The deadline for comments to the public consultation has been extended until Monday 6th August and I would encourage anybody who has not already done so to view the plans online and submit their comments.

This will be my last column in the Stourbridge News for a few weeks. My office will be open as usual over the summer recess period, but will close on Friday’s during August only. If you ever need to get in touch, please email, or you can message me on Facebook at I hope you all have a wonderful summer.