Anniversary sees calls renewed

By Ian Dipple Friday 20 June 2014 Updated: 20/06 09:48

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Buy photos » Ann Hawkins, Jill Bralee, Neal Stote, Wendy Johnson, Alex Haines and Ian Johnson mark Save the Alex’s second anniversary. (s)

CONCERNS over safety and capacity need to be answered before the removal of maternity services from the Alexandra Hospital campaigners have warned.

Members of Save The Alex marked the second anniversary of the campaign last Saturday (June 14) by reiterating calls for assurances the consultant-led unit at the Alexandra Hospital will not be closed before capacity was available at both Worcester and Birmingham and both would be able to safely cope with the increased workload.

The campaign began in June 2012 when a series of models were published detailing how hospital services could be configured in the county, which could have seen the closure or severe downgrading of the Alex.

An Independent Clinical Review Panel ruled in January this year A&E at the Alex should remain in the form of an emergency centre but inpatient paediatrics and consultant-led births should be removed, with a recommendation to explore the creation of a midwife-led unit.

The clinical models based on the panel’s findings are still being analysed with a view to starting formal public consultation in September.

Neal Stote, chairman of STA, said: “Although over 95 per cent of A&E services have been maintained, there are still major question marks and concerns around the recommendation for consultant-led births at the Alex, particularly capacity to ensure women have the choice of where to give birth.

“Since January we have continued to lobby hard but we remain hugely concerned those behind this process are still unable to provide adequate answers or assurances to many of our questions.

“The Prime Minister recently recognised women want to have their children locally and we agree. There are other models which could be used to maintain consultant-led deliveries which we believe have not been explored in enough detail.

“We will continue to press our local NHS until every alternative to removal of consultant-led births at the Alex has been exhausted. The first time Save the Alex was set-up it took three years to make NHS management to see sense, so second time around we are going nowhere.”

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