A LEADING doctor has moved to reassure the public services are currently safe at the Alexandra Hospital.
Dr Jonathan Wells, chair and clinical lead of Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG responsible for buying in services at the Woodrow Drive hospital, spoke out following warnings by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust services could be closed outside of the current reconfiguration project if they are deemed unsafe or unsustainable due to delays in the process.
Maternity, neonatal, paediatric and emergency surgery are all being monitored by a safety and sustainability committee created as part of the hospital services review.
But Dr Wells said he was concerned the speculation could cause unnecessary worry.
“I would not want people to talk down or increase people’s worries about existing services – existing services are safe.” he told a meeting of the CCG’s governing body.
“Most reconfigurations of this type do take up to five years and had the plans been put out to consultation this month they would have included a business plan of two years to implement these changes. I don’t want to give the impression things are risky at present.”
Simon Hairsnape, the CCG’s chief officer, said they had shown by working together they could reduce risk to services as with the successful retention of the full neonatal service at the Alex, which had been under threat earlier in the summer.
But he said the key was to get a sustainable solution in place as soon as possible.
The proposals for the Alex, which include centralising maternity, paediatrics and some A&E services into Worcester, is being reviewed by the West Midlands Clinical Senate to ensure they are safe and sustainable. NHS England will then have to give permission for the plan to be put to the public, however there remains considerable uncertainty over the timeline.
November had been mooted as a possible start date but Mr Hairsnape said depending on how long the senate took to complete its work a start date of January was more likely with a final decision after the General Election or potentially the whole three month consultation would take place after May’s national poll.