THE week-long trial of transferring patients from the DY10 and DY11 postcodes in Kidderminster to the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch instead of Worcestershire Royal has been extended.
The move was made in a bid to ease waiting times in the Royal’s Emegency Department where well-documented cases have seen some patients waiting up to 12 hours to be seen, treated, and moved on.
The transfer move was introduced on June 18 following a joint decision by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, backed by family doctors through the county’s three clinical commissioning groups.
The ambulance service has in the past heavily criticised patient transfer delays at the Royal, which has led to ambulances backing up outside the department and waiting to hand patients over.
This has had region-wide repercussions with ambulances and their paramedic crews tied down at Worcester and unavailable for emergencies elsewhere.
The problem is one of capacity at the Royal site – it is caught between having a moderately-sized A&E department having to run a county-wide service and too many in-patients with no onward care for them to go to.
However the DY10/DY11 experiment has been condemned elsewhere, particularly in Kidderminster where patients will have to go down the torturous and often busy A448 to Bromsgrove before arriving at the dual carriageway to Redditch.
The Alexandra Hospital, where waiting times are generally shorter than at the Royal, has also been shorn of its ability to deal with major emergencies, which means a patient transferred from Kidderminster who deteriorates may then have to be transferred further on to the Royal.
A spokesperson on behalf of the three Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said: “There has been a joint decision by all partners across the system to continue with the boundary change pilot in to this week.
“We have been closely monitoring the urgent care needs across both sites and can confirm there has been no negative impact during this pilot to date. We will remain to monitor this very closely while the pilot continues.”