By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 31 August 2012 Updated: 05/09 10:09
A STUDLEY doctor has become the first GP to speak out against the downgrading of services at the Alexandra Hospital.
In a letter to Save the Alex campaigners Dr Dianne Wilkins, who practises at Studley Health Centre, said without a local acute hospital lives would be put at risk.
She was responding to letters sent to all GPs within a ten mile radius of the hospital by campaigners asking for their views on the potential downgrading of services at the Woodrow Drive hospital.
In it she said: “Patients need acute services they can access in a timely manner. Quick access to a hospital is proven to reduce mortality and improve disability outcomes in stroke, myocardial infarction (heart attack) and most major acute illnesses. It is also extremely important in reducing perinatal deaths in mothers and infants.
“We feel it is critical to the local population that they have a local acute hospital with full services or lives will be put at risk.
“We also feel that the effect on hospital transport and acute ambulances has been ignored and will push a service that is already strained to breaking point.”
She told the Standard she felt strongly, not only as a GP whose patients were mostly referred to the Alex, but also as a Winyates resident who had grown up in Redditch.
But she said the South Warwickshire Clinical Commission Group had not been made aware of the proposals by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust prior to them being made public.
“The whole of Studley, Alcester and that kind of west side of Warwickshire almost all use it as our primary hospital. This has got my interest as a GP as well as a local resident.”
The Trust has been repeatedly criticised for failing to hold any public meetings in Warwickshire during its initial discussions but has pledged to consult more widely, including people in Studley and Alcester, when formal consultation begins in November.
Detailed options about the future make-up of hospital services in Worcestershire are set to be released in September.
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