THE Save the Alex campaign is no more.
The protest group, which, for the past 11 years, has, without fail, battled to retain services at the Alexandra Hospital, has called it a day in the face of the continuing drain of services away from the Woodrow Drive site.
Chairman Neal Stote, who admitted he was disillusioned by the machinations of the local health trust, NHS policy and ‘photo opportunity’ politicians, said although deeply saddened, it was time to get his life back.
“The original mandate of Save the Alex – the 55,000 strong petition which rejected any idea of our maternity and accident and emergency being downgraded – has gone,” he said.
“Paediatrics has gone, which effectively downgraded A&E. Then the powers that be say the trust (Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust) should have ten A&E consultants at both Worcestershire Royal and the Alex.
“How many have they got? 12 in total? The entire thing is unworkable and can only lead to a loss of service.
“The people I feel have been let down is not us, but the population of Redditch, a growing town of 83,000, with, including Bromsgrove, a surrounding population of 200,000 and these people have lost the hospital they fought for.”
He added the Worcestershire Royal was built as a city hospital for the people of Worcester, not to serve the entire county and was simply not big enough to cope with demand – for instance waiting times in its A&E department hit seven hours on Tuesday morning (January 4).
“The people of north Worcestershire need to wake up to what has happened at the Alexandra Hospital,” said Mr Stote.
“Stroke services have gone, coronary care (heart attacks) has gone, maternity has gone, paediatrics has gone and there is now no emergency surgery.
“WAHT is not a successful way of running a health service and the people of this area desperately need to take part in the consultation process, when it launches, and make sure their voices are heard.”
On a personal note the father of two – both his children were born at the Alex – says his wife Faye, although proud of his achievements, is glad to get her husband back.
“I didn’t intend to get involved in the NHS,” said the 39 year old, “but back in 2005 I left a public meeting so angry because they were proposing we travel to Worcester for our paediatric and maternity care.”
And the thing he is most proud of? “Because of Save the Alex 20,000 more babies were born in Redditch and countless children have been treated at and been cared for by their local hospital.”