By Ian Dipple Wednesday 27 February 2013 Updated: 28/02 12:09
THE GROUP of doctors responsible for buying in healthcare services for Redditch and Bromsgrove say they have to accept service changes at the Alexandra Hospital are now 'inevitable'.
But Dr Jonathan Wells, chair and clinical lead of Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group, said they were committed to retaining the Alex as a thriving local hospital and would continue talks with Birmingham providers as well as Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
The Joint Services Review confirmed on Wednesday A&E, maternity and children's services at the Woodrow Drive site would be downgraded under a model which would see Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust provide services.
The proposal was approved by senior doctors on Worcestershire's Clinical Senate and has been verified by outside experts as financially viable.
A second option involving Birmingham Trusts runnning services at the Alex needs to be worked up but it is thought it will at least match the WAHT offer, with the potential for bringing new services to the site. It is hoped both options will be released in detail in mid-May or June.
Dr Wells said: "NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group has previously stated its intention that the Alex remains a thriving local hospital, which provides the fullest range of services possible – so long as these are clinically and financially sustainable.
"We continue to be fully committed to this aim. However, we have also recognised that some change will need to occur to ensure that local people receive high quality, safe services in the future.
"These have been confirmed by the Worcestershire Clinical Senate; the most senior doctors and nurses in Worcestershire. These changes will affect patients whose clinical needs require them to be treated in a more specialist hospital. The Clinical Commissioning Group must accept these findings and this does mean that some change is inevitable.
"Last year some of the potential clinical models would have resulted in a very significant reduction of services at the Alex. These are now off the table. Both the remaining two options mean that the majority of services currently provided at the Alex, remain at the Alex. We would also like to see new services provided locally. The exact range of services offered under the options now needs to be worked up over the coming weeks and shared with local people. We must also be able to set out where patients go who need specialist hospital services not available locally.
"I fully understand that people are anxious about their local NHS services. I can confirm that no decisions can or will be made without full consultation; we will therefore do our very best to ensure local people and their elected representatives are fully engaged in how their NHS services are run in the future. In particular we want to work closely with local stakeholders including the Save the Alex campaign."
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