By Harriet Ernstsons 24/08 Updated: 24/08 09:57
CONFUSED campaigners have called on the Trust to define what it would mean for Redditch if the town's A&E was downgraded to an urgent care centre.
Of the six clinical models proposed by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, option C would include one hospital in the county with an A&E, one treatment centre with a minor injuries unit and an urgent care centre.
But Save the Alex leader Neal Stote has spoken out to question what illnesses and injuries would actually be treated at the Alex if option C was chosen and the UCC was located in Redditch.
He said: "I cannot find a clear definition of what one actually is, looking at what other hospitals provide they all seem to vary. Some suggest you have to telephone before going and some are nothing more than a minor injury unit - all in all not much more than what your GP would normally deal with.
"The Trust told one of the public meetings in Redditch that it is a centre led by GPs, surely that is the existing primary care unit that already exists?"
Two of the Save the Alex group have been included in a trip to Canterbury's UCC in early October, although it is believed their unit differs from what could be provided in Redditch as they also deal with 'acute medical illness' such as heart attacks and strokes. A decision has already been taken to centralise the county's stroke provision in Worcester.
Representatives from the College of Emergency Medicine have expressed concern in the past over the safety of UCCs for patients.
Vice president Dr Taj Hassan told the Standard: "The consensus viewpoint is if the centre sees minor illness and injury and is staffed by GPs and nurse practitioners, that seems a reasonable and straightforward approach.
"But if the case mix involves them seeing more moderate illnesses which perhaps might be outside the capabilities of staff you would have there, that might raise more concerns.
"If you are replacing an emergency department with a UCC you have to be clear about the types of categories of patient your centre is going to be seeing."
An NHS Worcestershire spokesman said it was accepted residents wanted more detailed information about future options for healthcare across the county.
"We are happy to do this and are preparing this material. Everyone in the county will have the opportunity to comment on our shortlisted options which we will release in September.
"Definitions of UCCs do vary in different parts of the country but we will be sure to make our proposals as clear as possible when the shortlist is published.
"We have stated all along we will only shortlist options that are safe and deliverable."
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