STOURBRIDGE MP Margot James has spoken of her “disappointment” at the poor rating issued by England’s chief inspector for hospitals to The Dudley Group.

Ms James said she would be seeking a meeting with chief executive Diane Wake at the earliest opportunity after The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust was given another 'requires improvement' rating after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission - just over three years after the care watchdog ordered improvements following the last review.

Professor Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals, said the main concerns were with the emergency department at Russells Hall Hospital where triage processes were inconsistent and not in line with trust policy or national guidelines.

Ms Wake herself described the rating as “disappointing” especially given the hard work put in by staff in challenging times but she stressed an improvement plan had already been put in place.

And she said if the CQC inspectors returned to the hospital today “I absolutely could confirm that we would not get an inadequate rating”.

She added: “There have been significant changes in that department with the local leadership team with the support of the executive team to get that department to a place where it needs to be and it is in a much better position today.”

Tory MP Ms James said of the situation: “Whilst there are clear issues on which improvement is vital, such as urgent and emergency services, I support completely what Diane Wake has said about her hardworking staff.

"It was an incredibly difficult winter, and the hospital was inspected at the height of it. I visited the A&E at Russells Hall last year and it was obvious to me how committed and passionate the staff are about patient care.

"Indeed, that was reflected in the report which rated the care at Russells Hall to be good. It’s often one of the first things people tell me about the hospital.

“It has been brought to my attention that the senior leadership of the trust has seen significant changes recently. I discussed these changes with the local CCG, and I was satisfied that the changes were reasonable. I also know that the hospital has suffered with a shortage of staff and consequently, and over-reliance on agency workers. I am pleased that plans are in place to combat this and that Russells Hall has seen an improvement in recruitment and retention.

“Like everyone, I want to see significant progress in our local health service to meet the world-class standards of this country’s leading hospitals. Having spoken to the local CCG today, I will be seeking a meeting with Diane Wake at the earliest opportunity.”

CQC inspectors carried out the inspection between December 5 2017 and January 18 2018 - three years after the CQC gave the trust a 'requires improvement' rating after a comprehensive inspection following the 2013 Sir Bruce Keogh review.