DOCTORS in Redditch and Bromsgrove have been urged to actively offer their patients the choice of going outside Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (WAHT) for treatment.
The plea comes from WAHT itself as it attempts to deal with a mounting cash and waiting list crisis and comes just months after the trust refused permission for local GPs to approach other health providers like University Hospitals Birmingham.
Dr Jonathan Wells of Hillview Surgery in Redditch, chairman of the Redditch & Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group which represents local GPs said:
“It is absolutely right that patients should have an informed choice about the alternatives open to them because the reality is getting to Worcester is not easy and in Redditch we have some of the most deprived areas in the county – 20 per cent of people do not have access to a car – and that will affect their choice and so the system has to take matters like that into account.
“We know that the trust (WAHT) has performance issues at the moment and we are very keen to help them with this and has asked the county’s three CCGs to help by giving them some breathing space for a minimum period of three months.”
In a letter to colleagues Dr Wells starkly put the situation at the local health trust, saying that currently there are 2,809 patients in Worcestershire waiting longer than 18 weeks for treatment when 12 months ago the figure was 1,416 patients.
In addition the trust is losing £1 million a week and hasn’t hit its A&E target time of seeing 95 per cent patients within four hours by ten months.
Neal Stote, chairman of the Save the Alex campaign, said: “The health trust asking for this help is an admission of failure. In any other business if you are no longer performing you no longer have a job.”
The campaign is now callign for the creation of a larger single trust for the Birmingham sub-region which would include Redditch and Bromsgrove.
The call comes after WAHT said that a consultation on the proposed reconfiguration of the county’s health services scheduled for later this year would not now take place until 2016.