PERFORMANCE: The NHS Trust Development Authority has appointed an improvement director in an attempt to turn around a West Midlands trust beset by problems in its accident and emergency department.

Marie-Noelle Orzel will work with Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust to improve its urgent and emergency services, patient care, quality and safety processes and to “apply good practice consistently”.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust

Five A&E consultants resigned from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust en masse

The trust was hit early this year by the resignation of five A&E consultants who wrote an open letter to the trust’s management accusing them of undermining services at Alexandra Hospital. The trust’s five divisional medical directors challenged the consultant’s interpretation of events in a response letter.

Last month it also received coverage in the national press when it emerged that a “disaster doctor” had been brought in to help relieve pressures at Worcester Royal Hospital’s A&E.

In addition to the appointment of Ms Orzel, earlier this year the TDA also commissioned two reviews into emergency care and allegations of bullying and harassment, which are expected to be published this summer.

In recent years the appointment of an external improvement director has mostly occurred after a trust has been placed in special measures, although they have also been deployed at trusts which are not in the regime.

Ms Orzel worked as the TDA’s improvement director at North Cumbria University Hospitals and East Lancashire Hospitals trusts when they were in special measures.

She has also worked as nursing director at Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust, and nursing director and chief executive of North Bristol Trust.

Ms Orzel said she was looking forward to working with Worcestershire’s staff to “develop a robust, integrated improvement plan”.

“There is clear evidence of good practice at the trust and we need to coordinate all improvement actions already in progress, address the issues in the emergency care pathway and work with the trust’s health partners to improve patient flow and the patient care experience across all services,” she said.

The trust has also appointed Andy Phillips, the former deputy chief medical officer at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust, to provide “additional clinical leadership”.

Chris Tidman, Worcestershire deputy chief executive, said the trust was “taking urgent action to make sure we deliver the high quality urgent and emergency care our patients deserve”.

“Marie-Noelle and Andy are welcomed warmly by the trust board and we look forward to working with them to progress improvements and sustain delivery of high quality care.”