THE latest announcement from Worcester health chiefs affecting the care of local patients in has been branded ‘a slap in the face for the people of Redditch’ by the Save the Alex Campaign.
Commenting on news that a ten day ‘temporary’ transfer of emergency care for gynaecology patients from the Alexandra Hospital to Worcestershire Royal is to put down roots and grow to six months, Save the Alex chairman Neal Store said: “This is a slap in the face for the people of Redditch and my gut feeling is that it is a permanent move.”
He also hit out at the manner the news was sent out – for the second week in a row at the start of the weekend – and it’s content.
“They said originally that it would affect around ten patients a day, now they are saying it will be ten patients a week.
“For an organisation that spends thousands of pounds of our money on communications, I’d be interested in knowing which figure is correct.”
Health chiefs cited the issue of fears for patient safety if services were maintained at the Alex, which also brought a stinging response from Mr Stote.
“All this strikes me as a total lack of planning – they must have known this was going to happen for months and instead what we have on the face of it is an unplanned closure that’s been poorly communicated,” he said.
“They have pulled their ace card, patient safety, and of course no one would want to put patients at risk, but they had done nothing to ensure that services could keep going at the Alex.”
Mr Stote added that he would be interested to hear what local MP Karen Lumley would have to say on the matter.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is currently reviewing a plan – rejected by the West Midlands Clinical Senate – that would see the level of emergency care reduced at the Alexandra Hospital, forcing patients and their relatives to travel 18 miles to Worcester instead.
There are many who see this latest manoeuvre as a means of achieving their original intention of centraling more services in Worcester.