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By Ian Dipple Friday 24 January 2014 Updated: 24/01 19:54
THE FINAL decision on the future of the Alexandra Hospital could still be another year away.
But health bosses have described the recommendations of the independent clinical panel as a major step forward.
The proposals will now be worked up in detail to examine how they will work in reality, be paid for and public transport links improved.
Public consultation is likely to take place in the Autumn ready to submit for final approval in December.
Penny Venables, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said the panel had produced a workable solution for the county for years to come.
“It will take away the uncertainty of the last 18 months and help us jointly plan what this model of care looks like and hopefully get on with implementing it,” she said.
“I’m positive about us turning the corner, having clinically sustainable services is the critical bit, the rest we need to work in partnership to make work across the county.”
Dr Jonathan Wells, chair of Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, said more than 95 per cent of emergency care currently conducted at the Alex would be retained.
“If you only look back 18 months ago we were talking about a devastation of services at the Alexandra Hospital, and with this report we are in a completely different place,” he told the Standard.
“It is very disappointing we cannot have overnight paediatrics and thus maternity but it’s important to point out the panel has stated it does not believe any provider could provide those services at the Alexandra Hospital and that opinion cannot be ignored.
“This won’t happen overnight, these changes won’t take place for a year or two until capacity can be built both at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and Birmingham to make sure our 2,100 women have a genuine choice of maternity care.”
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