By Ian Dipple Wednesday 12 September 2012 Updated: 14/09 00:12
HOSPITAL bosses have delayed a decision on releasing detailed options which could see A&E and maternity services at the Alexandra Hospital downgraded.
After a lengthy meeting of NHS Worcestershire's Joint Services Review on Wednesday (September 12) it was announced the implications of the reconfiguration needed to be looked at in more detail.
It was expected the Trust would announce the detailed shortlist of options at a press briefing on Thursday (September 13) morning but speculation had been growing throughout the day a decision would be delayed.
Although health bosses admit the move will delay the timetable for a final decision a spokesman for the JSR team said their 'aspiration' was still to hold formal consultation from November.
But that seems unlikely as the JSR team has already committed itself to holding a second round of engagement meetings as well as producing a detailed consultation document before entering the three month consultation period.
Eamonn Kelly, NHS Worcestershire chief executive, said while significant progress had been made on reviewing public feedback and advice of senior doctors nurses and other healthcare professionals, the JSR team wanted to look more closely at the potential implications and consequences of alternative ways of providing hospital care.
"It is so important we get this right for local people. Good progress is being made. We remain committed to finding the best possible combination of high quality, safe, accessible, sustainable and affordable services for the people who use the NHS in Worcestershire, now and in the future," he said.
"This will have implications for our timetable but we have said all along that rather than sticking to a rigid plan we would be flexible."
Neal Stote, head of the Save the Alex campaign welcomed the fact health bosses had recognised more work needed to be done.
"I believe the Trust has been shocked by the public and political outcry to their initial four healthcare models. It is important this review is done right and it is clear there are many complex matters that have arisen in the Trust's rush to save money," he said.
"I do not believe the Trust looked closely enough at the financial black hole that would be left as thousands of patients left the county preferring to use Birmingham hospital services if they went ahead with their plans.
"I also question some of clinical reasoning for these changes, other hospitals that have had their A&E closed are now having it reinstated and just look at what is happening to hospitals in Newark where a A&E department has closed."
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