Birmingham trust in talks with the Alex

By Ian Dipple Friday 25 January 2013 Updated: 30/01 00:12

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THE TRUST which runs Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital has been officially confirmed as being in talks about taking over services at the Alexandra Hospital.

Although it has long been rumoured, doctors on the Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group made the announcement they were in negotiations with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, as well as Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Birmingham Women’s Hospital yesterday (Thursday).

No details have been revealed about the range of services they will be able to provide, but commissioners have previously hinted it is unlikely they will be able to maintain services in their current form as issues with funding and a lack of doctors in certain specialities remain.

But about 90 per cent of what the Alex currently does will remain under any deal, which The Standard understands will include some form of A&E, maternity and paediatric services. They have also offered to invest in the site and potentially bring in services which have not previously been provided by the Alex.

Dr Jonathan Wells, chair of Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, said talks were ongoing with Trusts in Birmingham and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (WAHT) which currently runs the Alex.

“We are determined the Alex remains a thriving local hospital providing a wide range of services for local people. We intend these to include both routine and emergency care as well as services for women and children.”

He added there was a lot more work to be done, but that the organisation was optimistic about the future.

“There will need to be change but we will ensure this is in the interests of local people,” he said.

The move is in response to overwhelming public opposition to the Joint Services Review, which was started last June and was aimed of saving WAHT £50million and dealing with a shortage of middle grade doctors.

Save the Alex chair Neal Stote said the news was exciting but clarification on the detail was needed.

“What we want to know is will the range of services provided be better and more sustainable than what Worcester offered in their original six models for future healthcare?”

Coun Roger Hollingworth, leader of Bromsgrove District Council, added: “UHB has worked very hard to ensure its offering meets the requirements of the residents of Redditch, Bromsgrove and the Warwickshire areas. It has the money and has promised investment in the Alexandra site.

“This is a far better solution for our residents.”

WAHT is believed to be deeply unhappy about the announcement as it is understood it still hopes to provide services at the Alex and is working on an alternative to the models originally proposed. But commissioners in Wyre Forest and South Worcestershire are happy to allow the Birmingham trusts to take over the Alex, as long as what remains of the Worcestershire Trust is sustainable.

Detailed options will not be released until towards the end of February at the earliest. Public meetings are planned to allow residents to have their say on the plan.

An online petition has been launched by Redditch MP Karen Lumley at which will be delivered to Prime Minister David Cameron.

A spokeswoman for UHB said they were awaiting the outcome of the JSR which would determine any involvement they may have.

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