A&E at the Alex is going nowhere – that’s the message from Chief Nurse and Redditch resident Jan Stevens.
Moving swiftly to quash fears that the emergency department at the Woodrow Drive hospital could soon face closure, she said: “We want to dispel the myth that Accident and Emergency at the Alex is going to close.
“A&E is going nowhere. At every level it is inconceivable that we would not need A&E at the Alex and people need to stop worrying that it could close.
“On a practical level there is no way we could transfer the emergency department to Worcester. For one thing Worcester is already very busy and secondly because it would be the wrong thing to do.”
Last week it announced the closure of its in-patient childrens ward due to a shortage of trained staff and her comments come after figures showed Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust (WAHT), which runs the Alex, may not have enough A&E consultants to meet the staffing levels demanded by the West Midlands Clinical Senate.
“Most A&E departments across the country are struggling to recruit but we are looking to grow our consultant work force and recruit more doctors and they will still have an A&E department at the Alex to work in,” said Mrs Stevens.
However she did say rumours of the unit being downgraded were demoralising for staff, particularly when they were doing such a good job in a thriving department.
“It does make it tricky to recruit if the first question people ask is how long is the hospital going to be open; it makes it hard to find great staff to come and work here,” she said.
And A&E at the Alex is recognised as being an excellent department, regularly beating Worcestershire Royal for the speed and efficiency with which it sees and treats patients.
“It’s very good – it’s got some fantastic nurses and doctors and it’s a pleasant, happy environment – staff like working there and it’s not going anywhere,” said Mrs Stevens.
While acknowledging that she didn’t have a crystal ball and could not predict the shape of health care in the future she added, with a nod to the Save the Alex campaign group: “The Alex does not need saving, it has a really great future and we cannot survive without a great hospital at the Alex.”