AN overstretched accident and emergency department that treats people from Tenbury and the Teme Valley will receive an extra £2.5 million to help prepare for the winter.

The money will help pay for the much-needed expansion of the Worcestershire Royal Hospital’s Accident and Emergency department by relocating a medical assessment and stroke unit.

“This significant additional funding is a huge boost to our efforts to deliver the safest, highest quality patient care possible, reduce waiting times, improve patient experience and create a better working environment for our dedicated staff,” said Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of the hospital trust.

“Our emergency departments are busier than ever, with patient numbers back to – and often well above – pre-Covid levels. Caring for so many people, while also making sure that we can protect our patients and staff safe from the risk of Covid-19 infection – has presented a number of challenges and particularly highlighted the serious shortage of space in our emergency department at Worcester, where the physical environment is hampering our efforts to deliver sustained improvements in patient flow.”

“Our aim is to use this money to invest in a package of improvements to the layout of our current emergency department at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, which will be completed in time to have a positive impact this winter.”

Questions still remain over when Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS trust will get a decision on a £60 million bid it made earlier this year to carry out several expansions – including the A&E department – in time for the winter.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in August that NHS trusts across the country would be sharing £300 million to upgrade facilities ahead of winter but Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust was not included.

The trust also had £321 million of debt written off by the government in April.