UNIVERSITY Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) says ‘it is still open to discussion’ on playing a greater role in the future of the Alexandra Hospital.
The announcement comes after the local health trust, which had previously rejected pleas from Redditch and Bromsgrove doctors to to engage with UHB, did a U-turn earlier this week and asked them to start offering patients the choice of going to Birmingham hospitals instead of Worcester for treatment.
The decision came after Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (WAHT) revealed it is losing £1 million a week and missing three key targets on accident and emergency care, referral to treatment times and cancer care and didn’t have the capacity to cope.
However in a sign of lines being drawn, a further UHB statement added: “It will be disappointing for the Trust staff and, more importantly, for our patients, if we see the level of service we currently offer negatively affected by an influx of patients from outside the area.”
Meanwhile health secretary Jeremy Hunt, speaking in the Health Service Journal, has said there are ‘too many trusts’ in the NHS and predicting there will be more mergers and chains developing.
He then praises Dame Julie Moore, chief executive of UHB and her team saying: “They would be quite capable of running multiple hospitals and we should be tapping into their ability to do that.”
His comments come as WAHT awaits the results of a Care Quality Commission inspection, which if negative could be a catalyst for change.
Fro now local doctors will be actively promoting the QE – 20 minutes away by train – and Birmingham Womens’ Hospital as alternative places for treatment instead of Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
It’s a move that prompted UHB to say: “We hope this latest development will promote further discussion around providing appropriate care for the people of Redditch and Bromsgrove.”
In repsonse WAHT said: “The revised clinical model for the Future of Acute Hospital Services in Worcestershire is due to be submitted to the West Midlands Clinical Senate in the next few weeks and it will give Worcestershire a blue print to move forward with safe and sustainable clinical services for patients.
“Throughout the process, the programme board has been in discussion with neighbouring hospitals about the affects the proposals could have on them and it will continue to involve them going forward.”