THE Government must act to align Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital with Birmingham health services so it can leave Worcester behind.
That’s the message from long time Alex campaigner Neal Stote, after Redditch MP Rachel Maclean – after two years supporting the health trust – acknowledged earlier this week that centralisation of hospital services in Worcester ‘isn’t delivering for Redditch’.
“I’m pleased that she has recognised that it’s not working – it’s obvious it was never going to work and we’ve argued for the past 11 years that it was never going to work,” said Neal.
“What the MP needs to do now is talk to her party, talk to government and get it changed because someone pushed through the centralisation of services in Worcester without taking into account the reality of the situation.
“This entire thing, linking Redditch with Worcester has failed.”
Last week Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Alex and Worcester Royal, revealed nearly 4,000 patients spent more than four hours waiting in Accident and Emergency to be attended to and either admitted or discharged.
A further 85 waited more than 12 hours.
The Trust is looking at a £74million deficit for the 2018/19 financial year and will be asking Health Secretary Matt Hancock to re-schedule the repayment of a £105million loan due this year.
The Trust also remains in special measures.
Mrs Maclean said: “Almost two years on from the removal of maternity and children’s services from the Alex, it’s clear to me that the vast majority of people in Redditch are still not happy with this situation.
“I have done my absolute best to hold the Acute Trust to account, to explain why services were transferred to Worcester with the aim of leading to better patient experience and outcomes.
“However, I do not believe I can continue, in good faith, to defend this.”
Instead, she said: “We need to look again at where and how services are provided, including a return of a range of maternity and paediatric services to the Alex, and more options for the local population to use Birmingham services, which are more accessible than Worcester.”
The leader of the Labour group on Redditch Borough Council, Bill Hartnett said: “What she now wants for the Alex is what we have been saying for the best part of two years – that we do not think the health trust is at all viable.
“It should be broken up with us partnering with Birmingham, Worcester with Herefordshire and Kidderminster with the Black Country.
“This was all very evident during the consultation on the future of health services in Worcestershire and from our own Health Commission two years ago and we are campaigning to bring services back to Redditch.”