September 25th, 2016

Health services ‘withering away’

Updated: 10:18 am, May 07, 2015

HEALTH services at the Alexandra Hospital are ‘withering away’ say members of the Save the Alex campaign group.

They were talking to shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne who arrived in Redditch last Friday – the day it was revealed that Worcestershire Royal A&E staff had been under so much pressure ambulance staff were forced to call in a major disasters doctor to help cope with the numbers.

Talking about the situation at the Alex, where there are plans for major emergency cases to go straight to A&E at Worcester along with over night paediatrics and consultant-led maternity, Mr Gwynne said: “We need to keep care services in place.

“We have said we would only reconfigure services where there is a clear medical or clinical case. Where it is financially driven then we are concerned, and this just smacks to me of purely financially driven decision making.”

He added that a Labour government would review all hospital reconfigurations ‘as a matter of urgency’.

The new plan for services at the Alex – known as modified option one – should have been published back in March but now won’t appear until after the General Election.

Mr Gwynne’s message was welcomed by the Save the Alex campaigners, even if a new government would bring further delays into the proposals for the hospitals.

“We recognise that some centralisation of services has to take place, but with a catchment area of 200,000 and a reduction in A&E capacity there is a danger that services at the Alex could wither away.” said Alan Greathead from the campaign group.

“I believe that if services were to be retained the people of Redditch would be prepared to wait for a further review under a new government.”

A spokesman for the Future of Acute Hospital Services in Worcestershire programme which is led by the county’s three Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “The current plans to reconfigure acute hospital services in Worcestershire are clinically-led and are in response to concerns about the safety and sustainability of clinical services going forward.”

Labour’s Rebecca Blake and Minister Andy Gwynne 1715003R