First and foremost we are delighted that the report states that A&E needs to remain open and this proves that collectively we were absolutely correct to challenge Worcestershire Acute Hospital Trusts (WAHT’s) plans to downgrade it even though we were treated as pariahs for raising the concerns because it would put lives at risk – these concerns have been confirmed by the Independent Clinical Panel.
We are pleased that prenatal and antenatal care will still be delivered from the site but we are obviously concerned for the future of births at the Alex however we understand that this is due to a lack of doctors nationally. We need to study the report for the reasons behind this proposed loss so we can see if there are grounds to challenge. It is critical no service changes take place until both Worcester Royal Hospital (WRH) and Birmingham Womens Hospital (BWH) have added delivery capacity in order to give women some choice. However our biggest concerns remain that the financial analysis has yet to be completed and there are still too many question marks.
We also understand that orthopaedics for the whole of the County will be based in Redditch – this is another significant step forward from the original proposals.
We are pleased to note that it is recommended that the Clinical Commissioning Groups and Worcestershire County Council should review the public transport links between North Worcestershire and the Worcestershire Royal Hospital however remain extremely concerned as to where the money will come from especially when the only direct bus link between Redditch and Worcester is being cut?
Also where is the extra money coming from for the Ambulance Service who will need to cope with the extra travelling time to Worcester and crucially how will WAHT afford this? If it is affordable why has it taken 2 years and a group of outside experts to tell our local NHS what should be provide to their patients?
The campaign will continue to put pressure on the system to ensure that what believe the minimum clinical specification recommended by the Independent Panel is delivered in practice. Now it is imperative that detailed work takes place to see if these services are affordable and who is best placed to provide them – now is the time for WAHT to truly put their money where their mouth is – accept they were wrong all along and ensure the much needed services are provided.
We now need to see very early and positive action from WAHT to address any ongoing safety concerns over the provision of services at the Alex by ensuring that additional resources are provided where necessary.
We will continue the fight for the people the Alex serves.
Karen Lumley, MP for Redditch said “Today’s news that we are to keep 24 hours Emergency services at the Alex is great news for the people of Redditch. I am also pleased that services such as Orthopaedics will be transferred from Worcester to the Alex ensuring a vibrant hospital for years to come”
Bill Hartnett, Leader of Redditch Borough Council said “People who use the Alex will be grateful to learn that we have successfully fought for as much of A&E as possible, however, in regards to maternity I will be looking closely at today’s proposals to make sure we get the best deal for Redditch”
Roger Hollingworth, Leader of Bromsgrove District Council said “The report is a major victory for the people of Bromsgrove, Stratford and Redditch and justifies the two years of effort that we have put in to stop the closure of the Alex. We want to be assured by NHS England that this is a stake in the ground and that these are the services that must be provided as a minimum by whoever can deliver them safely and sustainably. This is almost what we have been fighting for but not quite. It is almost there, though, and it gives us a good base from which to continue the fight and look for a supplier who can deliver what the people want but we need to be assured that this is the minimum”
Chris Saint, Leader of Stratford on Avon District Council said “I am encouraged about the prospect of services in demand being retained at the Alex. While highly specialist services need to be provided at central locations, good A&E services, maternity units and minor operations need to be provided locally and their value needs to be accurately assessed in the Trust’s business plans”
Neal Stote, Chairman of the Save The Alex campaign, said “Today’s reports shows Save The Alex were right in its high profile campaign. We will study the report in detail and continue to fight for the best possible range of services at the Alex”