THE ALEXANDRA Hospital will become the major site of orthopaedic surgery for Worcestershire as part of the planned reconfiguration of services.
Under the plan patients from across the county will have to travel for all major joint surgery including hip and knee replacements to Redditch to have their operation as part of moves to turn the Woodrow Drive site into a centre of excellence.
Day case surgery will continue to be carried out at Redditch, Worcester and Kidderminster hospitals.
Ambulatory trauma – breaks which do not require admission to hospital – will continue to be treated at the Alex through A&E and fracture clinics but any fracture requiring surgery, such as hip fractures, will be dealt with at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
Although creating the centre of excellence will not result in any new procedures being carried out in Redditch, any future developments will be concentrated at the Alex.
As well as the centre of excellence the draft clinical model, recently released by health chiefs, would see the Alex continue to offer about 95 per cent of current A&E services and continue to deal with the 38,000 people and 15,000 ambulances arriving there currently.
It will also maintain full resuscitation facilities and the intensive care unit as well as contain a GP-led urgent care centre and minor injuries unit.
There would also be a Paediatric Assessment Unit for moderately ill children who need to be admitted to hospital for a short period of time for observation or assessment. It will open 12 hours a day Monday to Friday and six hours at weekends.
Outside of those times children will have to be treated in Worcester or Birmingham if they cannot be dealt with at the Alex, which is still expected to treat about 10,000 sick children a year on current numbers.
Consultant-led births will be centralised into Worcester but all antenatal care and clinics are expected to remain on site including the maternity day assessment unit, which can give steroid injections and monitor a baby’s movements, but commissioners have yet to confirm the opening times and days.
A freestanding midwife-led unit could also be created catering for between 200 to 300 low risk births and an enhanced home birth service is also planned.
The model is currently being scrutinised by West Midlands Clinical Senate as a result of concerns raised by NHS England about the strength of the evidence underpinning the changes.
The senate’s findings are expected in January when health bosses hope to get approval from NHS England to go out to consultation in late May or June.