Put Birmingham option on the table say Alex campaigners

By Ian Dipple Thursday 31 January 2013 Updated: 31/01 12:37

CAMPAIGNERS have called on health chiefs to ensure all possible options over future service provision at the Alexandra Hospital are put to the public.

The Joint Services Review is due to end next month and it appears two possibilities are emerging from talks.

Although neither will retain services in their current format, because of funding issues and a lack of doctors in certain specialities, both will provide provision of urgent and emergency, women's and children's care in some form.

One is likely to be put forward by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust with the other involving Trusts in Birmingham, as reported in the Standard last week.

Chris Fearns, JSR project director, said commissioners expected to be ready to outline what could be provided in early March. Detailed options are not expected to be available until June.

Mrs Fearns said if there was a need to bring another Trust in to run services the public and clinicians would have to understand how it would 'add value' and the full financial and clinical implications.

The leaders of Redditch,Bromsgrove and Stratford councils, Redditch MP Karen Lumley and Save the Alex Campaigners met with Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group this week, to seek clarification on the Birmingham talks.

In a joint statement they called for those involved in the JSR to ensure all sustainable and financially viable options were put to the public as soon as possible. They also called on health minister Dr Dan Poulter to clarify under what circumstances the hospital could be transferred to University Hospital in Birmingham (UHB).

Coun Bill Hartnett, leader of Redditch Borough Council, said: "This is the most important issue facing the borough, we all need to continue to show our support for the Alex and its A&E and maternity services."

Neal Stote, chair of the Save the Alex Campaign, said all options had to be explored in full and put to the public as soon as possible.

Coun Chris Saint, leader of Stratford District Council, called the Birmingham option 'welcome and credible'.

"Residents of Alcester, Bidford, Henley and Studley and surrounding communities will find Redditch far more accessible than any journey to Worcester."

Coun Roger Hollingworth, leader of Bromsgrove District Council, said he was pleased people would have a genuine choice.

"The alternative could be provided by the best teaching hospital in the country (University Hospital Birmingham), a Trust that is financially sound and is already a Foundation Trust, prepared to invest in the Alexandra, rather than look at ways to cut back all the time, and that will be supported by two of the best hospitals in the country, Birmingham Women's Hospital and Birmingham Children's Hospital."

Redditch MP Karen Lumley said: "The public have a right to know the full range of options available, whether this future belongs with University Hospitals Birmingham or the Worcestershire Trust."

In response Dr Jonathan Wells, chair of Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, repeated their commitment to maintaining the widest range of safe and sustainable services at the Alex.

"Discussions with local NHS Providers continue as we develop robust options. When finalised we will fully explain these to local people and seek their views through an engagement and listening process."

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