HEALTH secretary Matt Hancock has left the city with a “clear and strong message” that Worcestershire Royal Hospital’s accident and emergency department needs to be made bigger in the face of some the worst delays on record.

Conservative parliamentary candidate Robin Walker met with Health Secretary Matt Hancock at Worcestershire Royal Hospital on Thursday (November 14) with the hope of a £40 million expansion of the hospital’s A&E department under discussion.

The Worcester News was not invited to speak to Mr Hancock during his visit.

Mr Walker said the Health Secretary “couldn’t have made it anymore clear” to hospital bosses that money would be available and they needed to start bidding for it.

Hospital performance in England is at its worst level on record, new figures by the NHS showed, with delays in A&E at its highest since targets were introduced.

Just over 76 per cent of people visiting an A&E in Worcestershire were admitted within four hours - almost 20 per cent off the target.

Mr Walker echoed the comments of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and said the failure to meet the A&E waiting time target was due to “huge demand.”

He said the increase in demand strengthened the argument that the A&E department at Worcestershire Royal Hospital needed to expand.

Mr Walker said: “The increase in demand is because there have been a number of key changes, most of which were pretty predictable, especially the ageing population and more housing in the city.

“When they built the hospital they didn’t account for that.

“We need to make the space bigger and that should start with the A&E department.”

Mr Hancock, who last visited the hospital in March, met with paediatricians and toured the hospital’s oncology centre.

If a plan by the Herefordshire and Worcestershire sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) to “condense” the hospital’s cardiology and stroke department to free up space next to the A&E went ahead, Mr Walker said the expansion could start “within the next couple of years.”

NHS statistics published on Thursday revealed the trust also missed a series of key targets in October, including patient waiting times for cancer care and non-urgent operations such as cataract removals and hip and knee replacements.