THE Save the Alex campaigners marked the tenth anniversary of their founding by gathering at the entrance of Alexandra Hospital, where amid passing cars honking their support, they met the Redditch Standard.
“I’ve been involved since 2005 when there were very similar proposals to downgrade the Alex as there are now,” said chairman Neal Stote.
“However it is in the last three years that things have really developed.
“Back then out GPs joined us and we were told that a decision on the future of the hospital would take six months, and here we are in 2015. It just shows how bad the original plan by health trust (Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust) was.”
There is little doubt that, but for the galvanising power of the Save the Alex campaign, that A&E might well have closed, however they rallied the people of north Worcestershire and are still battling to maintain services at the Woodrow Drive hospital.
“All the focus has been on A&E but over 20,000 babies have been born at the Alex over our ten years in existence and we must not forget that the trust want to transfer all that to Worcester,” said Mr Stote.
On the publication of the West Midlands Clinical Senate report he said: “The senate has not approved the plan for A&E, backing up the concerns raised by the four A&E consultants who resigned earlier this year that it was unsafe and unsustainable, yet despite this our NHS intends to put their head in the sand and continue with the process with a view to ripping out those services the Senate has approved for centralisation as soon as possible and rumoured to be before Christmas.
“How can you have a full and safe A&E in the interim period while they fiddle about with a new model without paediatrics? Where is the capacity for the additional 2,000 births which take place at the Alex every year? Where will these mums to be go?
“Where is the capacity to take the seriously sick children the Alex will no longer be able to cope with? What happens if someone with a seriously ill child or a labouring women turns up at the Alex in future by mistake? What are the safety nets?
“Four years on and the fact remains we still do not have a sustainable clinical model for a trust which is drowning in debt. Instead of ploughing on with this review our NHS should now be to look at all options and working with all providers.
“Otherwise lives will be lost and those who approved this disgraceful decision will be responsible.”