Public were right to fight says Save the Alex chairman

By Ian Dipple Tuesday 21 January 2014 Updated: 22/01 13:34

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Buy photos » Neal Stote addresses the public following the launch of the initial proposals for the Alex in June 2012 and says they were right to fight. 2712025MMR4

THE HEAD of the Save the Alex campaign says the recommendations on the future of the Woodrow Drive hospital proved the public were right to challenge plans to severely downgrade it 18 months ago.

But Neal Stote said the campaign still had concerns about the findings of the independent clinical panel, particularly around the loss of a consultant led maternity unit, and would want to study the report in detail before deciding on a future course of action.

He added the campaign was far from over and would continue to put pressure on the NHS system to ensure the recommendations were implemented as a minimum.

"This proves the people of Redditch, Bromsgrove and South Warwickshire were right to fight the initial proposals published in 2012," he said.

"I'm pleased the NHS has appeared to listen to our concerns about emergency services and taken into account our concerns about capacity and access.

"However, we are desperately concerned about the future of consultant led deliveries. We will continue to work with and challenge the NHS and ensure the best range of services possible are provided.

"It's been two years of campaigning but STA does not intend on going away, we will be there during pre-consultation and consultation to ensure this minimum specification outlined in the report is implemented."

The initial models published in June 2012 could have seen the closure of the Alex or it downgraded while option one, published early last year, would have seen the creation of an urgent care centre which would have removed about 25 per cent of the hospital's A&E services as well as maternity services in their entirety.

The latest recommendations will see A&E retained as a new emergency centre, dealing with the vast majority of what it does now, the retention of prenatal and postnatal care and potentially a midwife-led unit for low risk births with more complex deliveries eventually centralised into Worcester once capacity is available.

But Mr Stote said he had concerns over whether or not the new proposal would be affordable.

"What we have is an independent clinical report detailing what is required at the Alex to maintain safe services for Redditch, Bromsgrove and South Warwickshire populations. Penny Venables (WAHTchief executive) says this is a plan which could serve Worcestershire well for years to come. It must be implemented as a minimum and we cannot allow it to be altered because of finances."

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