Save The Alex “Save our Services Rally”
Save the Alex
PRESS RELASE 27/03/15
Save The Alex “Save our Services Rally”
Save the Alex campaign have called on the public to support a ‘Save Our Services’ Rally on May 2nd gathering at Redditch Town Hall for 11 am. The rally, say campaigners, is to send a clear message to health chiefs and to whoever is elected on May 7th, that their first job on May 8th, the day after the election is to “Save The Alex”.
Three years on from the launch of a review looking at acute hospital services in Worcestershire the future of key services like A&E and Maternity at the Alexandra Hospital hang in the balance. Over 55,000 members of the public signed a petition in August 2012 rejecting any plan that would see the Alex lose its A&E and maternity services, the exact wording of the petition was:
Before Worcestershire NHS officially open their consultation on Health Services in Worcestershire, we want to make it clear that we do not support any suggestion or proposal that Redditch will lose A&E, Maternity or the Alex Hospital.
The review, originally timetabled to take only six months has been besieged by internal NHS wrangling, numerous delays and has cost millions. The latest delay is the release of a crucial report that looks at the viability of the plans currently proposed. NHS England has refused to release this report citing election purdah as the reason. The campaign has described those blocking the report’s release as “faceless bureaucrats”
Neal Stote who is leading the campaign said,
“The Alex’s team of 4 A&E consultants resigned saying they believed the proposed model to be unsafe as it provides nothing more than a minor injury unit led by GP’s!
This along with the recent announcement of A&E capacity being increased at Worcester Royal and Worcester Acute Hospitals Trust’s increasing financial difficulties, means the Alex’s A&E department is at greater risk than at any time since the review started in June 2012.
The review has failed to consider all the possible ways to maintain services. Instead it has spent the past three years looking how the current provider organisation can continue. The failure to consider out of county NHS providers has resulted with only one option being considered.
This one option totally fails to addresses the concerns we the public have about transport and capacity. It is clear the Worcester Royal can’t cope at the moment and would never cope with the additional demand if the Alex’s A&E were to be downgraded. The QE hospital in Birmingham have stated they could not cope with increased demand from North Worcestershire; Birmingham’s Women’s Hospital have also said that they have no additional birth capacity and could not deal with any of the 2100 births that currently take place at the Alexandra Hospital.
“It is very hard to see what the review has achieved over the last 3 years. Let’s be clear about the real reason why nothing has happened, it’s for the same reason the same plans were scrapped last time I led this campaign (2005 – 2008). The current plan is unsafe and totally unworkable. It fails to provide acute health care for the whole of Worcestershire let alone the surrounding areas north of the county and it does little to save the acute trust any money at all. It is time this plan is also consigned to the scrapheap”
The campaign has said this will be an apolitical rally with the community at its heart and family orientated events such as a “best banner” competition and displays of local musical and dance talent are being planned. The rally will not have any speakers that are currently elected or seeking to be elected. However, the campaign feels it is important that the public know the views of those who are seeking election. The campaign has asked in a letter (see here) sent to all 6 people in Redditch seeking election to parliament encouraging them to set up a pitch around the band stand area that makes clear which party they represent so the public can ask them directly about the future of Alex and what services they want to see at the Alex should they be elected.
The campaign is appealing for local dance, music and theatre groups to get in contact with us. We are also seeking sponsorship from businesses to promote the rally and ensure it is a success. If you think your group could help or would like to help sponsor the rally please email firstname.lastname@example.org, donate directly here or call on 07989 563 864.
Matters of concern affecting the future of the hospital include:
1) The resignation of FOUR Accident & Emergency department consultants over fears that the proposed changes to the Alex would leave Redditch, Bromsgrove and Studley without a safe A&E service.
2) The persistent failure of health bosses to publish their views of those proposed changes despite promising to do so back in February. Now publication won’t happen until after the General Election on May 7.
3) The loss of consultant-led maternity services at the Alex and their transfer to Worcester Royal instead.
4) The loss of overnight paediatric services to Worcester leaving parents without a car relying on an infrequent bus service.
5) Fears, voiced by the resigning consultants, that the loss of services would result in less training posts for trainee doctors, reducing cover for care, and effectively turning the emergency department into a minor injuries unit.