Meeting at the Palace to discuss Alex future

By Ian Dipple Monday 11 February 2013 Updated: 15/02 09:46

A PUBLIC meeting is being held to allow residents to hear directly from decision-makers about the future of the Alexandra Hospital.

The Save the Alex Campaign has organised the meeting at the Palace Theatre on Monday, March 11 at 7pm when the conclusions of the Joint Services Review will be explained.

The meeting will be free but ticketed as demand is predicted to be high. Further meetings are planned once the full details about service provision are available.

Commissioners from Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group will be there to answer questions and broadly explain the two options expected to be going forward for further consideration when the review, launched in January last year, finally reports at the end of February.

One of the options will involve Trusts from Birmingham providing services but exact details are not expected to be known until the summer.

The other option will be for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to continue running services but details released at a recent county council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting show it will involve the creation of an urgent care centre which will do only 60 per cent of what the current A&E does and would no longer be consultant led.

The JSR was set-up to help Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust trim £50million from its budget, deal with a shortage of doctors in certain specialities and look at how more healthcare could be delivered in the community to avoid the need for people to go into hospital in the first place.

The six models released last June could have seen essential services such as A&E and maternity centralised into Worcester with the Alex reduced to a minor injuries unit and diagnostics centre or in one case closed completely.

That plan was abandoned in October last year in the face of opposition from commissioners, politicians and the public including the 55,000 who signed the Save The Alex Campaign petition.

Neal Stote, chairman of the Save the Alex Campaign Group, said: "After months of delay and speculation the Campaign wants to ensure the public have their say on the emerging options before any formal consultation takes place in the summer.

"We have been working hard behind the scenes with providers, commissioners and politicians from all parties to ensure the Alex remains a thriving local hospital with emergency, women’s and children’s services.

"The news made public in January that leading hospitals in Birmingham have been talking to commissioners about potentially providing these key services is very exciting. The Campaign have been working closely with Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG and welcomes their attendance to explain the emerging options. None of this would have been possible without strong and on-going support from local people for their hospital and the campaign to save it."

Dr Jonathan Wells, chairman and clinical lead of Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, said: "NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG is pleased to accept the invitation to this important public meeting. The Save the Alex Campaign has been instrumental in ensuring the views of local people are being heard by the NHS.

"No decisions can or will be made until local people have had their say through a formal consultation process later this year. However, we look forward to explaining how the emerging options are progressing, the likely timetable and most importantly our ambitions for local hospital services."

To book a free ticket call the Palace Theatre box office on 01527 65203.

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