REDDITCH residents are urged to answer a rallying call from a health care campaign group and attend a 12-hour vigil at the Alexandra Hospital on Thursday (November 5), as a last ditch attempt to save the neonatal unit.
The Save the Alex campaign has issued the request following the news that the hospital’s maternity unit will close on Thursday, with all births and neonatal services transferred to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital from noon.
Members of the group are rallying for residents across Redditch, Bromsgrove and the wider area to support their efforts to secure the future of the Woodrow Drive hospital by signing a petition which calls on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to intervene.
Save the Alex campaigners want Mr Hunt to remove the Alexandra Hospital from the control of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (WAHT) and place it in the hands of a Trust which will ‘seek to provide the services residents need’.
The 12-hour vigil will run from 8am until 8pm on Thursday and members of the public are encouraged to turn up at any point throughout the day and spend as much time as they can with the group as a visible show of opposition to the cuts.
The vigil will rally at 6pm and campaign leaders are expected to address those in attendance.
Neal Stote, chairman of the Save the Alex campaign, said: “There is simply not the capacity at Worcester, Birmingham or the wider region to take the 2,000 women who now have nowhere to give birth as a result of this disgraceful decision.
“This dangerous and unplanned downgrade is a result of four years of failure by WAHT and local commissioners to agree a proper clinical model which could deliver safe and sustainable services.
“And it won’t stop there – once maternity goes, evidence shows A&E and paediatrics will follow quickly and that will have disastrous consequences.
“We need the public to back us and send a clear message to Jeremy Hunt that he needs to take control and sort this shambles out.”
You can visit https://goo.gl/SelbEY to sign the petition and paper copies will be available to sign during the vigil on Thursday.