Campaigners meet health minister

By Ian Dipple Wednesday 14 November 2012 Updated: 15/11 21:45

CAMPAIGNERS say they are encouraged by the response of the health minister to efforts to save vital services at the Alexandra Hospital.

Save the Alex campaign members along with the leaders of Redditch, Bromsgrove and Stratford councils, the MPs for Redditch and Stratford and Standard editor Ian Dipple took the fight to the heart of Whitehall during a 45 minute meeting with Dr Dan Poulter.

A joint statement from the group said:

"Following a positive meeting with the minister we are encouraged by his response. He recognises the need for a safe, sustainable solution which benefits the 200,000 plus people currently served by the Alexandra Hospital.

We understand commissioners are currently investigating an alternative solution with other healthcare providers to the current proposals from the JSR which will retain the vast majority of services.

This plan has cross-party, cross boundary and campaign support which will ensure safe, sustainable services at the Alex for the long-term finally ending years of uncertainty for staff and patients.

The minister has also accepted an invitation to visit the Alex in January, organised by Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid, and we look forward to welcoming him and further pressing the case.

It is widely recognised by all concerned that whatever the solution we need a speedy decision to address the ongoing issues of low staff morale, retention, recruitment,clinical safety and to restore patient confidence.

We believe the minister understands this and we will continue to work together to deliver the best possible outcome for patients."

In a joint statement Coun Bill Hartnett, leader of Redditch Borough Council, Coun Roger Hollingworth, leader of Bromsgrove District Council and Coun Chris Saint, leader of Stratford District Council, said: "We feel the meeting was extremely positive and we are confident of a good outcome for our communities."

Neal Stote, head of the Save the Alex Campaign, said: "It was a productive and positive meeting and I am encouraged the minister will actually be taking the time to visit the hospital in January. We have come a long way since June the 14th and hope the final outcome will be far more positive than the JSR originally proposed which could have seen our hospital closed."

Redditch MP Karen Lumley said: "I am very encouraged by the minister's positive response, this is a cross party campaign which believes that a safe sustainable solution at the Alex is vital. 

Importantly the minister recognised the need for a speedy solution, something which is needed to address issues for providing good quality, long-term clinical care."

Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi said:" I feel we have demonstrated this is cross party, and all three district councils and all three MPs are behind the plan it's a good plan and needs speedy implementation."

The meeting was organised by Redditch MP Karen Lumley and attended by save the Alex campaigners Neal Stote, Laney Walsh, Redditch Borough Council leader Bill Hartnett, Bromsgrove District Council leader Roger Hollingworth, Stratford District Council leader Chris Saint and Redditch Standard editor Ian Dipple, Redditch MP Karen Lumley and Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi.

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