DOCTORS in Redditch have vowed that they are committed to re-opening the Maternity Unit at The Alexandra Hospital.
The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) met yesterday (Thursday) and were faced with more questions from the public on the decision to close the ward on November 5.
Ian Johnson, a Save The Alex campaigner, told committee members the protesters’ Facebook page has had more than half a million posts expressing concerns on the Worcestershire Acute Hospital Trust’s decision to make the emergency closure.
“How many times in your time as part of the CCG and with your collective experience have you actually seen a maternity unit re-open?” he asked.
Dr Jonathan Wells, chair and clinical lead at the CCG, said: “There were already plans to centralise neonatal care but we wanted to put it through to public consultation before making any closures. Making emergency closure is never ideal.
“It was unfortunate but we have to assess and address the risks and the acute trust are committed to reversing the closure when it is safe and secure to do so.
“The last thing we want to do is open the unit only to have it close again eight weeks later.
“All we can do is investigate the concerns raised and make observations to ensure the services provided are delivered safely.”
The initial statement from the trust said the ward was closed owing to a shortage of staff which was challenged by the public at the meeting who said midwives at the hospital were unaware there was an issue with the number of people on shift.
Several of these have since been relocated to Worcestershire Royal Hospital where they have said they do see issues of under-staffing.
Jo Galloway, executive nurse and quality and patient safety member, said: “The Maternity unit at The Alex was struggling with staffing issues especially when people called in sick.
“It is so important not to just wait for something bad to happen before deciding what you need to do.
“Since moving employees over to Worcester we have carried out visits to ensure everything is running smoothly. There are a few teething issues which are to be expected but nothing has triggered us to carry out any unannounced visits to the hospital.”