By Ian Dipple Tuesday 28 August 2012 Updated: 30/08 17:11
HEALTH bosses have been accused of u-turning over plans to hold further talks with the public before formal consultation begins on changes to hospital services.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has dropped plans for a second listening exercise after detailed options are released next month (September) which could see A&E and maternity services at the Alex centralised into Worcester.
It prompted a fierce backlash from politicians, who called on the Trust to explain themselves.
But Eamonn Kelly, chief executive of NHS Worcestershire, denied the trust had ever planned to go into consultation without talking to the public first.
He said the commitment to a second round of engagement before consultation had not changed.
“One of the requirements of this process is to be able to respond to what the public is telling us.
“Rather than sticking to a rigid plan we should be flexible enough to make adjustments to our timetable based on what people are saying.
“We will hold more public events both before and during consultation, the issue is about getting the timing right.
“When we looked at the feedback from the seven meetings we held in June and July it was clear people want more detailed information about the future options.
“Our stakeholder reference board echoed the call for more detailed information. We are happy to do this and are preparing this material.”
He added August was not a good time to hold more events and said they were now looking for a good time to hold more events.
“Everyone in the county will have the opportunity to comment on our short-listed options which we will release in September,” he said.
But Neal Stote, head of the Save the Alex campaign, said: “I class this as a u-turn because of the fierce backlash from the public, the media and the politicians.
“The Trust has to be open and honest about what their timetable is and keep the public and the campaign informed about developments with the Joint Services Review.”
Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid said: “I am very concerned over reports that the Acute Trust have cancelled plans for a second round of public meetings.
“I have written to Penny Venables, the chief executive of the Trust, demanding an explanation.
“I want these meetings to be held in suitable locations, providing an avenue through which the people of Bromsgrove can make their opinions on the potential closure of services clear.
“I’m firmly against any move to close services at The Alex, and I want the voices of others who agree with me to be heard.”
POLICE are trying to determine what happened during
A BROMSGROVE charity which supports homeless people and
THE OWNER of a dog which was badly
FORMER Welsh rugby star Scott Quinnell will be
STROKE survivors were given the chance to learn
A DISTINCTIVE laptop was taken by thieves during a burglary ...
A TRADER who caused unnecessary suffering to a rabbit he ...
A PRISONER who went on the run after being released ...