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By Ian Dipple Wednesday 19 December 2012 Updated: 20/12 20:46
HOSPITAL bosses say they understand and share the frustration of Save the Alex campaigners after a further delay to planned service changes was announced.
Members of the Save the Alex campaign group walked out of this morning's meeting of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust board after it was revealed there would be no significant update to the Joint Services Review as had been expected.
A statement released before the meeting stated further work needed to be done before detailed options could be released to the public. It is unlikely any further announcement will be made before the end of January, with another round of public engagement in February and formal consultation not beginning until the summer.
Chairman Neal Stote said he had no confidence in the Trust, and accused them of continually 'moving the goalposts' and of delaying and derailing the Joint Services Review process when there was a sustainable option on the table to secure the vast majority of services at the Alexandra Hospital - believed to be a reference to behind the scenes talks with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust.
But Harry Turner, chairman of the Trust's board, said he understood why the group were frustrated but stressed they were not in control of the timetable but were being led by NHS Worcestershire and Redditch and Bromsgrove, Wyre Forest and South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups.
"Certainly emotions are running high, understandably," he said.
"This is a commissioner led process of which we are a part but we are not the leaders. The objective is to provide safe, sustainable services and this Trust is charged with providing those services for the population of Worcestershire.
"It is difficult, if it was easy we would have got to an answer more quickly. What we will not comprise is the safety or sustainability of services.
"We all wish we were getting to an answer quicker but it's important we get it right, we don't want to be here in three years time."
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