Alex future to become clearer soon

By Ian Dipple Friday 28 June 2013 Updated: 28/06 16:40

THE FUTURE of the Alexandra Hospital could become clearer by the end of next month but it looks increasingly likely the public will not be consulted on a plan to allow a Birmingham Trust to run services.

Clinicians at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust are expected to finish working up the two options on the table by the end of July so they can be clinically and financially evaluated.

One would see WAHT continue to provide services across the county and one would see an alternative provider brought in - likely to be University Hospitals Birmingham.

A decision will then be made about which will go to a three-month formal public consultation, starting as early as August.

But even though work is ongoing it seems inevitable option two will be killed off as clinicians at the Worcestershire Royal, involved in working up option one and two, have publicly stated allowing another Trust to run the Alex would destabilise specialist services for the whole of Worcestershire.

Although it is expected WAHT’s offer to keep the Alex will be vastly improved on what was announced in February and will maximise the amount of services available at the Woodrow Drive site, A&E, inpatient paediatrics and maternity services will still be removed and centralised to Worcester.

Commissioners across the county will be involved in scrutinising and testing the work being done to develop both options and a panel of external experts will also be brought in to scrutinise the results.

At a meeting of Worcestershire County Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday (June 25), councillors raised concerns the focus was on preserving the existence of WAHT and not providing the best clinical services.

But Simon Hairsnape, chief officer for Redditch and Bromsgrove and Wyre Forest CCGs, said unless WAHT was viable on only the Worcestershire Royal and Kidderminster Hospital sites, there was no point in pursuing option two further, although the commissioning intentions of all three CCGs would be taken into account.

“If the Trust isn’t viable then you haven’t got a provider for South Worcestershire or North West Worcestershire. It’s around maintaining the services for the whole of Worcestershire not necessarily to do with preserving any existing NHS organisation.

“What we can’t do is solve a problem in one part of Worcestershire and create a far bigger problem elsewhere.”

The move is likely to meet resistance from GPs in Redditch and Bromsgrove who have already publicly stated they are concerned option two is not being worked up fairly and openly.

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