Health chiefs urged to keep the public informed on hospital options

By Tristan Harris Thursday 31 January 2013 Updated: 01/02 16:32

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CAMPAIGNERS have called on health chiefs to ensure all possible options over future service provision at the Alexandra Hospital are put to the public.

The Joint Services Review is due to end next month and it appears two possibilities are emerging from talks.

Although neither will retain services in their current format, because of funding issues and a lack of doctors in certain specialities, both will provide provision of urgent and emergency, women’s and children’s care in some form.

One is likely to be put forward by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust with the other involving Trusts in Birmingham, as reported in the Standard last week.

Chris Fearns, JSR project director, said commissioners expected to be ready to outline what could be provided in early March. Detailed options are not expected to be available until June.

Mrs Fearns said if there was a need to bring another Trust in to run services the public and clinicians would have to understand how it would ‘add value’ and the full financial and clinical implications.

The leaders of Redditch, Bromsgrove and Stratford councils, Redditch MP Karen Lumley and Save the Alex Campaigners met with Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group this week, to seek clarification on the Birmingham talks.

In a joint statement they called for those involved in the JSR to ensure all sustainable and financially viable options were put to the public as soon as possible. They also called on health minister Dr Dan Poulter to clarify under what circumstances the hospital could be transferred to University Hospital in Birmingham (UHB).

Bromsgrove District Council leader, Coun Roger Hollingworth, said he was pleased people would have a genuine choice.

“The alternative could be provided by the best teaching hospital in the country (University Hospital Birmingham), a Trust that is financially sound and is already a Foundation Trust, prepared to invest in the Alexandra, rather than look at ways to cut back all the time, and that will be supported by two of the best hospitals in the country, Birmingham Women’s Hospital and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.”

In response Dr Jonathan Wells, chairman of Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, repeated their commitment to maintaining the widest range of safe and sustainable services at the Alex.

“Discussions with local NHS Providers continue as we develop robust options.

“When finalised, we will fully explain these to local people and seek their views through an engagement and listening process.”

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