Key NHS report delayed by “faceless bureaucrats”

Save the Alex claim the West Midlands Clinical Senate report that looks at the viability of acute hospital services under modified option 1 is being delayed by faceless bureaucrats for no good reason.


Letters released today by the campaign show confusion as to why this report has not been released as planned


On the 26th January, the Chair of Redditch & Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group wrote to Dr Hegarty the Chair of West Midlands Clinical Senate (full letter here) asking for clarification around the timing of publication of the WMCS Independent Clinical Review Panel report, and to seek assurance that publication will not be delayed for ‘political reasons’.


Within this letter it states:


“It is therefore crucial that we receive the WMCS panel’s recommendations as soon as possible, in order to determine our next steps and to reduce the risk of further service changes being imposed on our patient population on ‘clinical safety grounds’ without public consultation” 


Dr Hegarty replied to this letter on the 3rd February (full letter herehis letter states:


“I want to assure you that the Clinical Senate will not delay the publication of the report for ‘political reasons'” 


“Be assured that openness and transparency for the Clinical Senate’s report will be maintained” 


The above letters were shared with the campaign as privileged information at the time and the campaign felt they clarified that there would be no delay, however in a letter sent by Dr Hegarty (full letter herein response to a letter from Redditch, Bromsgrove and Strafford council leaders (full letter hereDr Hegarty states:


“We understand the desire in Worcestershire for the publication of the West Midlands Clinical Senate Independent Clinical Review. However, it would be inappropriate to publish this document during the local pre-election ‘purdah’ period in Redditch and Bromsgrove, which began on 16th March.”


This response, is a total U-turn by Dr Hegarty and it is clear powers above are leaning on West Midlands Clinical Senate.  Save the Alex campaign have written to Dr Hagerty (full letter here) questioning the use of purdah as an excuse and using the freedom of information act requesting


“WMCS conclusions into the clinical model known as modified option 1 are complete and cannot be altered by the programme board, I request you release these conclusions into the public domain.”   


In a further development Andrew Reed, Director Commissioning Operations (West Midlands) sent a letter to The Future of Acute Hospital Services Worcestershire programme board on the 17th March (full letter here) this letter states:


“The report is currently in draft from and the next step in the process would be for the Senate to release it to the Programme Board for checking factual accuracy.  However I could not agree to this step, simply because to release such a sensitive and complex document to a relatively large number of people would run an unwarranted risk of inadvertent leaking of its content into the public domain”


The campaign has written to Andrew Reed (full letter here) the letter states:


“It is now obvious that it is NHS England that are blocking the WMCS report and therefore stopping the FoAHSW Programme moving forward.”


Our view


“The sustainability of services are increasingly being brought into question, a further delay is not only disappointing but could be critical to the future service retention at the Alexandra Hospital. For faceless bureaucrats in the offices of NHS England to block publication of this report can only mean one thing, that West Midlands Clinical Senate have concluded modified option 1 does not work.  In which case the option for another provider or providers to take over and run hospitals in Worcestershire is back on the table, an option which should never been ruled out in the first place”


Save the Alexandra Hospital Campaign Team

#savethealex #lovetheAlex




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