By Harriet Ernstsons Tuesday 12 March 2013 Updated: 12/03 13:54
THERE was overwhelming support for allowing Birmingham Trusts to run services at the Alexandra Hospital as the public met the doctors in charge of the decision.
Around 250 residents attended a Save the Alex meeting at the Palace Theatre last night (Monday), with a further 219 watching the live webcast online.
They had the chance to quiz members of the Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group - doctors who will decide which services are retained at the Woodrow Drive site - as well as volunteers from the campaigning group about the two options. The first would see the Alex remain under the control of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust while the second would see University Hospitals Birmingham step in to run the site.
Residents heard for the first time broadly what Birmingham could offer, including a fresh redesign of urgent and emergency care, investment in to the site and the introduction of new services including a renal dialysis unit.
Concern raised during the meeting revolved around access to Worcester, the safety of midwife led units and the financial sustainability of the Worcestershire Trust.
When asked for a show of hands by chair Waqar Azmi, all but one of the audience members said at the present moment they would opt to travel to Birmingham rather than Worcester for treatment.
Save the Alex chairman Neal Stote said: "I am pleased people took the time to come out and listen to the very clear options. There was a very clear decision by the public if they had to travel for some of the specialist services they would rather go to Birmingham, firstly because they can get there and secondly because it's the sustainable option.
"Birmingham have the money to invest in the hospital and they want to grow the services there which is a far cry from what we have seen from the Worcestershire Trust for the last 12 years."
Dr Jonathan Wells, chairman of the CCG, said he was 'very pleased and grateful' to the Save the Alex group for inviting them to speak at the meeting.
"We were able to explain to the public the case for change and the two very clear options for the future. There was a lot of anxiety amongst the public about local services and they are very protective about the services at the Alex.
"As a CCG, we are absolutey determined that the Alex remains a thriving local hospital with a wide range of services.
"Our position is that we are determined both options will be fully worked up during the next two or three months when we will come out again to the public. If the public overwhelmingly opt for one option rather than the other we will support that option going forward."
A spokeswoman from UHBT said: "“University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is currently awaiting the final outcome of the Joint Services Review process, which will determine what, if any, involvement UHB may have in the future provision of healthcare services in the area."
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