Second city trust to help Alex

By Ian Dipple Friday 31 January 2014 Updated: 31/01 10:03

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Buy photos » Pershore residents could face long journeys to Redditch's Alexandra Hospital. (s)

THE TRUST which was in the running to take over services at the Alexandra Hospital is set to help implement proposals for its future.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust - which runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the second city - is expected to be invited to help develop how the recommendations for the Alex would work in reality, as part of the next stage of the reconfiguration of Worcestershire's hospitals.

It was revealed in January last year UHB was interested in providing services from the Woodrow Drive site, partly as an alternative to the option put forward at the time by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust which would have resulted in the Alex being severely downgraded and partly because of concerns about the pressure on the QE.

Since the start of the hospitals review two years ago UHB has seen a surge in patients from the Redditch and Bromsgrove area because of uncertainty surrounding the Alex.

An extra 1,800 patients a year from the two areas have been seen in the emergency department at the QE along with a 14 per cent increase in patients being treated for day case, elective and emergency procedures.

Bosses say the rise is partly why in the last three months an extra 170 beds have been opened in the old QE hospital to deal with demand.

An independent clinical panel last week ruled out allowing UHB, or any other provider, to take over the Alex because it would destabilise services for the rest of Worcestershire. But it is still hoped UHB will be involved in the ongoing process to ensure the changes do not impact on the wider health system in the region and discussions are continuing about their involvement.

A spokeswoman for UHB said: "A safe, comprehensive and sustainable health service in Worcestershire is essential not only for the people of Redditch and Bromsgrove, but for the rest of the south Birmingham healthcare economy. If not delivered, the impact on surrounding hospitals will be significant, with the number of patients seeking care away from their local hospital continuing to increase.

"To date UHB has not been actively involved in either the Joint Services or Clinical Independent Review. However it looks forward to being part of the next phase of the programme where it hopes to better understand the deliverability and affordability of the plan and how it will impact on the services it delivers to its patients as a result of the clinical changes."

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