OUTRAGED civic leaders are to take yesterday’s closure of the maternity unit at the Alexandra Hospital directly to the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt.
And they say they will be demanding ‘definitive answers’ from him to reverse what appears to be a spiral of decline at the Alex at the hands of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
“I think that Jeremy Hunt needs to look very carefully at what this trust will look like next year because they do not seem to be doing a very good job – they are losing £1million a week – if they were running a business they’d be bankrupt by now,” said local MP Karen Lumley.
Redditch borough council leader Councillor Bill Hartnett added: “We’re outraged at what has gone on – where was the consultation? They’ve been running up this deficit and they cannot keep their staff, in fact they cannot be far away from being taken into special measures.”
In a letter to Mr Hunt the leaders of Redditch Borough Bouncil, Bromsgrove District Council and Stratford District Council described the closure of the department, announced at 5.15pm last Friday, as ‘untenable’, ‘unethical’ and ‘a breach of guidance’ issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Coun Hartnett, with Coun Sherrey (Bromsgrove) and Coun Sant (Stratford) will join with Mrs Lumley, Business Secretary Sajid Javid, MP for Bromsgrove, and Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford to meet with the NHS’s Trust Development Authority on Monday, November 9.
They will then meet with Jeremy Hunt on Wednesday, (November 18).
Coun Hartnett said: “They don’t seem to realise that 20 per cent of the people of Redditch don’t have a car. How are they going to get to Worcester? How are their friends and family going to visit them?”
Mrs Lumley added: “It’s important to look at the wider context – this all started nearly five years ago and back then they (the health chiefs) promised me it would take six months and here we are now and this has happened. This is why they are having staffing problems – who would want to work in a hospital where you do not know the future?”
And she said a Save the Alex call for the hospital to be removed from WAHT and given to a trust which would look after the interests of the people of Redditch, could be a way forward.
“If that’s the way out of this situation and if that’s the way we can bring maternity back to Redditch then that’s what we should do,” she said.