By Harriet Ernstsons Wednesday 21 August 2013 Updated: 21/08 13:25
RESIDENTS have put pen to paper to tell health chiefs they would rather be taken to Birmingham than Worcester in an emergency.
More than 350 people signed postcards made by the Save the Alex campaign group at Church Hill Community Day and Morton Stanley Festival to voice their preference to be treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
It comes just a month after bosses at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, who run the QE and have been in talks with Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust about the future of the Alexandra Hospital, revealed their A&E attendance had soared by 130 per cent in the last 12 months. The increase in numbers coming from the area around the Alex is thought to be down to uncertainty around services such as A&E and maternity.
Campaign chair Neal Stote said there had always been a strong indication residents would rather travel to Birmingham than go to Worcestershire Royal, but they wanted to show this remained true in an emergency situation rather than just in elective cases.
"We have already shown in a previous poll that people would travel to Birmingham if they had to, NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group believed this choice would be just for elective services.
"The fact people are signing up to such a direct statement of preference even in an emergency situation just further shows people will not travel to Worcester.
"The people I have spoken are saying Worcester is just not accessible, yes we might get there by ambulance but how will my loved ones visit me and how do I get home."
Group member Ian Johnson added: "The vast majority of people that I have spoken to in the past 14 months, now well into the thousands, have left me in no doubt that if they have to travel for services they will do so for convenience not county loyalty."
Simon Hairsnape, chief officer for the Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG said they were committed to ensuring local people had access to the widest possible range of services which represented value for money and were clinically and financially sustainable.
"No decisions have yet been made and any changes will be subject to a formal public consultation process."
The first of the postcards were set to be delivered to the CCG at their public meeting yesterday (Thursday) but collections will continue until the end of September. Standard readers who would like to voice their opinion can print out the postcard on this page and post it to Save the Alex postcards, Redditch Standard, Webb House, Church Green East, Redditch, B98 8BP.
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