ENOUGH is enough – that’s the verdict of doctors in Redditch and Bromsgrove after a long awaited report into future health services at the Alex found that the blueprint proposed is incapable of providing the care required.
The report, produced by the West Midlands Clinical Senate concluded ‘that there is an unsustainable model of acute health services across Worcestershire, which warrants a need for fundamental change and improvement’.
It also failed to endorse the proposals as ‘clinically safe’ reflecting the views of the five accident and emergency consultants who resigned in February 2015, four from the Alex.
As a result doctors, are now calling for urgent and immediate action to look at other options including using hospitals in Birmingham as possible health care providers.
They also fear that, such is the poor financial position of the trust that runs the Alexandra Hospital – Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (WAHT) – that it could move emergency surgery to Worcester in four weeks and maternity and emergency gynaecology cases within months for safety reasons.
In a letter to every GP in Redditch and Bromsgrove, the governing body of the area’s Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Jonathan Wells, Dr Marion Radcliffe, Dr Richard Davies, Dr Rupen Kulkarni and Dr Saf Siwji, laid out their case and called a meeting of all its members tomorrow Friday.
In the letter they question how WAHT plans to cope if major emergency cases go to Worcester. It says: “It has been the consistent position of our CCG that urgent care capacity must be maintained at the Alexandra site due to the lack of capacity at Worcestershire Royal Hospital…….There are currently 55,000 attendance at the Alex Emergency Department (ED): case analysis has suggested a maximum of two thirds of cases might be dealt with by a Minor Injuries Unit and Urgent Care Centre, leaving 18,000 cases per year requiring transfer if the A&E closes at the Alex.”
It says the resulting cost of transfer by ambulance would be ‘crippling’ forcing the CCG to spend money on transport costs instead of improving patient care.
Under the Joint Services Review the CCG was restricted to dealing only with Worcestershire as a health care provider, but now doctors are calling for other trusts to be given the opportunity to provide care for patients, for instance those in Birmingham.
Neal Stote, chairman of the Save the Alex campaign said: “Their letter echoes something I could have written myself. It’s very disappointing that the CCG, which is meant to have the whiphand in all this, is left at the mercy of a programme board which is miles removed from doctors and their patients.
“It’s all been about how Worcester can be protected and after four years of trying they’ve been unable to do it.
“If the doctors who have commissioned these services say that the plan the trust has come up with does not work then I know who I am going to believe.”
Jo Newton, chairman of the programme board for Future of Acute Hospital Services in Worcestershire said: “We met as a programme board (which has members from the CCG) on Wednesday night and I think it would be true to say that we had a good discussion.
“We are obviously aware that there is more work for us to do with the plan, especially in the area around the emergency department. The report from the Senate is very helpful and we recognise the need for change.”
For the full text of the doctors’ letter click http://tinyurl.com/p2qydut .