Save the Alex campaigners launch petition for Brum option to be looked at

By Ian Dipple Wednesday 06 August 2014 Updated: 08/08 13:15

A PETITION has been launched calling for a repeat of the clinical review into the options for the Alexandra Hospital.

Save the Alex campaigners are urging residents to back the online petition in a bid to convince Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to order the option for University Hospitals Birmingham to run services from the Alex to be looked at again.

The campaigners, backed by legal opinion, say University Hospitals Birmingham was never properly allowed to develop its option for the running of the Alexandra Hospital and as a result the process is flawed.

Towards the end of last year an Independent Clinical Review Panel was asked to examine Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust’s option as well as option 2 which would have seen another provider take on the Woodrow Drive site. But the panel’s review was based only on the internal work-up and assessment of the two options by clinicians working within the Trust, some of whom had previously stated publicly option 2 would not work as it would destabilise services for the rest of Worcestershire.

That view was confirmed by the ICRP in January which ruled option 2 should not be progressed any further and the full A&E at the Alex should be turned into an emergency centre providing 95 per cent of what it currently does while maternity and inpatient paediatric services should be centralised into Worcester.

Freedom of Information requests have revealed no information was shared between UHB and WAHT regarding the review process between the launch of the hospitals review in January 2012 and June this year.

If commissioners are allowed to go out by NHS England to public consultation in September the public will have only one option put to them which will see maternity and inpatient paediatric services centralised into Worcester and the Alex's full A&E turned into an emergency centre providing about 95 per cent of current care.

Rebecca Blake, Labour's Parliamentary spokeswoman for Redditch, backed the campaigners' calls.

She said she would refuse to back a consultation offering no real choice and has challenged commissioners over the issue.

"We were promised the option of an alternative provider of services at the Alex would be investigated and now we find out that this has not happened.

"This brings the entire review into question and if the consultation were to go ahead under these circumstances it would be a mere tick box exercise by commissioners."

Neal Stote, chairman of STA, said: "We were given a clear commitment there would be two options. Services at the Alex would have to be maintained for at least two years anyway to ensure capacity is in place elsewhere and we have only just found out the only option on the table will not be sustainable beyond three years and is already beginning to slip compared to what was originally offered.

"The public deserved to see both options."

Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid said: "We've had an independent clinical review that was welcomed by stakeholders including Save the Alex.

"It's important that we get on with the consultation so that local people can now have their say.

"I'm determined to make sure that my constituents get the highest quality local hospital care."

Visit http://goo.gl/IOrVVY to sign the petition.

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