STOURBRIDGE MP Margot James rolled up her sleeves to get a taste of life working on the frontline at the borough’s main hospital.
The Conservative MP donned a red volunteers’ polo-shirt to spend a day shadowing staff at Dudley’s Russells Hall Hospital which was slammed in NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh’s report over staffing shortages and an inadequate complaints process in the summer.
The MP was “reassured” that the Keogh report, although critical, did not place the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust in special measures.
But she said she wanted to see for herself the daily realities faced by the borough’s frontline hospital staff.
She said: “The only way you can understand people’s jobs and how they deliver a service is by getting involved.
“It was very important for me to spend time with the staff who are providing vital services in our hospital, to make sure my understanding of the challenges they face is as good as it can be.
“The media rarely report the day to day realities of the NHS, except when there is a crisis, so the overall impression can be too negative.
“I welcomed the opportunity to see at firsthand what goes on so that I can help to present a more balanced view.”
Margot’s day kicked off with a shift shadowing assistant portering manager Paul McGarry in the Emergency Department followed by an afternoon session with clinical support worker Barbara Mason in the hospital’s acute medical ward.
There she saw how the Trust measures care and displays information for patients including the Friends and Family Test results and the number of days a ward has gone without a patient developing a hospital acquired pressure ulcer.
She also visited the hospital’s high-tech endovascular theatre where lifesaving aneurysm repair operations have been taking place since March 2012.
The MP described the experience as ”very rewarding and inspiring”. She added: “I was very impressed with the commitment among the staff I met and reassured by patients I talked to about their experience at Russells Hall Hospital.
“The whole experience has been a real eye opener into what it’s really like to work in a busy hospital.”
Trust chief executive Paula Clark said: “Margot always takes a great interest in the work we do and we are very pleased to be able to show her, first hand, how we strive to give our patients the best possible experience.”
The Trust says measures to address concerns highlighted in the Keogh review about the hospital’s complaints process and staffing shortages have since been implemented.
Ms Clarke said no additional monitoring requirements have been applied to the Trust, which is currently “awaiting confirmation that any follow up visit will take place”.