18th Sep, 2019

The 'Road to Damascus' starts in Redditch following MP's 'conversion'

Ross Crawford 16th Apr, 2019

“THE MP has been to Damascus” – that’s how Councillor Bill Hartnett described the about turn by Rachel Maclean over the provision of health services at the Alex in Redditch.

Referring to the passage in the Bible where Paul converts from being a persecutor of the Jews to a follower of Christ, he added: “She has come round to see the light.

“What she now wants for the Alex is what we have been saying for the best part of two years – that is 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,” added the Leader of Redditch’s Labour Group.

“This was all very evident during the consultation of the future of health services in Worcestershire and from our own Health Commission two years ago.

“Our manifesto says the same thing and we are campaigning to bring services back to Redditch.”

His comments come after Mrs Maclean said yesterday, Monday, April 15, that 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.”

Coun Hartnett said: “What is going on? One minute she’s congratulating the new chief executive of the Trust and being photographed opening a new ward and the next we have this.

“We all know it’s not the staff at the health trust – everyone is full of praise for them, it’s the management and its the nature of Worcestershire – all our links run to Birmingham and not Worcester.”

The Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is currently looking at an overspend of £74million for the last financial year, is seeking to delay settling a due debt of more than £100m and is still in

‘special measures’ following a series of Care Quality Commission inspections.

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