Alex report welcome but questions remain say council leaders

By Ian Dipple Tuesday 21 January 2014 Updated: 21/01 18:33

COUNCIL leaders have welcomed the report into the future of the Alexandra Hospital but say too many question marks remain.

In a joint statement the leaders of Redditch, Bromsgrove and Stratford councils said the findings of the independent clinical panel proved they were right to challenge the original proposals put forward by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust which would have severely downgraded the Woodrow Drive hospital.

They said they remained concerned about the future of births at the Alex and needed to study the report in detail to see if there were grounds for challenge.

But the trio added the biggest marked remained over where the money was coming from to improve transport links between Redditch and the Worcestershire Royal and whether the Trust would be able to afford the proposals, insisting they must be implemented as a minimum requirement.

Redditch Borough Council leader Bill Hartnett said: "People who use the Alex will be grateful to learn we have successfully fought for as much of A&E as possible, however, in regards to maternity I will be looking closely at today's proposals to make sure we get the best deal for Redditch."

Coun Roger Hollingworth, leader of Bromsgrove District Council, called the report a major victory for the people of Bromsgrove, Redditch and Stratford which justified the two years of effort put in by the Save the Alex campaign.

"We want to be assured by NHS England this is a stake in the ground and these are the services that must be provided as a minimum by whoever can deliver them safely and sustainably. This is almost what we have been fighting for but not quite. It is almost there, though, and it gives us a good base from which to continue the fight and look for a supplier who can deliver what the people want but we need to be assured that this is the minimum."

Chris Saint, leader of Stratford District Council, added he was encouraged by the recommendations.

"While highly specialist services need to be provided at central locations, good A&E services, maternity units and minor operations need to be provided locally and their value needs to be accurately assessed in the Trust’s business plans."

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