REDDITCH MP Rachel Maclean has signalled a massive change in approach to local health provision, saying centralisation of hospital services in Worcester ‘isn’t delivering for Redditch’.
She 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 is proposing that: “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.”
Her call comes 20 months after Redditch Councillor Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill) then leader of the Borough Council, demanded action over health services describing Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust as being in a ‘shocking state’.
It followed a far ranging health commission set up by the council which stated: ‘Members of the Commission do not believe that the option in the current consultation paper (the centralisation of services) from the Worcestershire Clinical commissioning Groups meets the needs of Redditch residents or responds to the concerns that have been raised’.
One of the candidates defeated by Mrs Maclean in the 2017 General Election in Redditch, Neal Stote, fought on a platform of returning more health services to Redditch and building stronger links with Birmingham.
Now, nearly two years later, Mrs Maclean appears to be following his lead.
Mrs Maclean added: “Our town continues to grow as new houses are built and families move to Redditch.
“Residents are rightly asking me what this means for the future of the Alex and for health services in our town.
“If we are to truly unlock Redditch and create a great place to live, work and raise a family, then good local healthcare must be a central part of our offer.”
The local health Trust is currently looking at an overspend of £74million in the last financial year, is seeking to delay the pay back of a debt of more than £100m due in this financial years and is still in special measures.