By Ian Dipple Friday 15 March 2013 Updated: 18/03 16:49
INITIAL details of what Birmingham providers could offer at the Alex have been outlined to the public for the first time.
Around 250 residents attended the Save the Alex public meeting at the Palace Theatre on Monday (March 11) with a further 219 watching the live webcast online.
They heard Dr Jonathan Wells, chair of Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group, and campaign members outline the reasons behind the changes in more detail as well as expanding on what both Worcester and Birmingham would provide.
The Birmingham option would include a fresh redesign of urgent and emergency care including telemedicine - a video link-up - with consultants in the A&E department at the QE, investment in the site and the introduction of new services including a renal dialysis unit. It was also confirmed UHB is looking to maximise the amount of services retained at the Alex, which raises the prospect more urgent and emergency care could be provided than under option one.
Dr Wells said: "They are aiming to maximise the amount of acute and emergency care done at the Alex and that may mean a high percentage of cases would be dealt with as a result of that."
Some services which residents have to travel to Birmingham for currently would also be returned to the Alex and there would be a paediatric assessment unit provided by Birmingham Children's Hospital with a telemedicine link. Children who would have to stay in hospital overnight would be dealt with in Birmingham but outpatients appointments would remain at the Alex.
Campaigners also pointed out there were better transport links to Birmingham and UHB Trust was a successful Foundation Trust and financially sustainable with about £70million in the bank. If necessary the Birmingham providers would also deliver certain countywide services including urology. But concerns remain about maternity services as Birmingham Women's Hospital is currently only offering a Midwife Led Unit the same as Worcestershire.
But neither of the two options on the table will see the retention of full A&E, paediatrics and maternity services.
Information about the Worcestershire option was released last month as a conclusion to the 13 month long Joint Services Review.
Both options will be worked up in full detail and presented to the public in mid-may or June before three months of formal consultation. A final decision is expected by November.
After the meeting Dr Wells said he was grateful to Save the Alex for allowing them to speak.
"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," he said.
"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."
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