September 26th, 2016

Alex Ikea tweet ‘shockingly stupid’

Alex Ikea tweet ‘shockingly stupid’ Alex Ikea tweet ‘shockingly stupid’
The Alexandra Hospital, Redditch

A TWEET by the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust chaplain comparing the move of gynaecology services to shopping at a furniture store has led to a social media storm.

The trust announced on August 7 the services would be temporarily moved from the Alex to the Worcestershire Royal and then, last Friday (August 14), another announcement was made saying the move was likely to last six months.

In response to that. Rev Dave Southall posted on Tuesday (August 18): “I would have thought patient safety trumped distance travelled. People go to Ikea for less.”

That led to angry comments from residents with one stating: “What a shockingly stupid comparison. The people who drive to Ikea by choice HAVE CARS. Some ill people don’t.”

Another labelled the comment ‘quite offensive and not very helpful to the women and children of North Worcestershire.”

And, to make matters worse, the original post was retweeted by Harry Turner, the chairman of the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust.

Neal Stote, the chairman of the Save the Alex campaign, said: “I think the original comment – to compare hospital care to shopping at Ikea – was shocking enough, but for Harry Turner to retweet it is unbelievable.

“He is supposed to be leading the way, but his comments have upset a lot of people.

“It shows they do not realise the strength of feeling in the north of the county.”

On Rev Southall he said: “He’s not a medical expert and, judging by his comments, he is not independent.

“He needs to stick to what he is paid to do and leave the debate about services to the people in the know.”

He called on Rev Southall to retract the comment and urged him to meet with the Save the Alex campaign and its supporters so he could see for himself the strength of feeling.

A spokesperson for WAHT said: “Regarding the Twitter activity, we can’t comment about David Southall’s or Harry Turner’s tweets as they are tweeting from a personal capacity.”

Rev Southall said: “I was tweeting in a personal capacity and it was never my intention to cause any offence.

“I was shocked at the reaction from the people who commented on Facebook and I apologise for any upset caused.

“In retrospect, I could have left the Ikea reference out, but I stand by my comment that I would rather have a safe place to be than one that is nearer.”

He added he would be very happy to meet with Neal and the Save the Alex campaigners to hear their views.