New petition calls for hospital review

By Ian Dipple Wednesday 06 August 2014 Updated: 11/08 10:35

A PETITION has been launched calling for a repeat of the clinical review into the options for the Alexandra Hospital.

Save the Alex campaigners are urging residents to back the online petition in a bid to convince Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to order the option for University Hospitals Birmingham to run services from the Alex to be looked at again.

As the Standard reported last week campaigners believe the decision of the Independent Clinical Review Panel to rule out the Birmingham option was flawed as it was only based on an assessment by clinicians working at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust without speaking to or sharing information with UHB.

As a result if commissioners are allowed to go out by NHS England to public consultation in September the public will have only one option put to them which will see maternity and inpatient paediatric services centralised into Worcester and the Alex's full A&E turned into an emergency centre providing about 95 per cent of current care.

But Redditch MP Karen Lumley said while she was 'surprised' no information had been shared with UHB, major concessions had been won and the consultation should not be delayed any further.

"When I speak to my constituents about this issue what is quite clear is the people of Redditch have had enough. They want to know with certainty what is happening to their hospital. If we dig our heels in, refuse to consult and drag out the process even further then we run the risk of having the hospital said to be unsafe and worse still being closed through the back door," she said.

Mrs Lumley added it had been known for some time only one option would be on the table.

But Rebecca Blake, Labour's Parliamentary spokeswoman for Redditch, said she would refuse to back a consultation offering no real choice and has challenged commissioners over the issue.

"We were promised the option of an alternative provider of services at the Alex would be investigated and now we find out that this has not happened. This brings the entire review into question and if the consultation were to go ahead under these circumstances it would be a mere tick box exercise by commissioners."

Neal Stote, chairman of STA, said: "We were given a clear commitment there would be two options. Services at the Alex would have to be maintained for at least two years anyway to ensure capacity is in place elsewhere and we have only just found out the only option on the table will not be sustainable beyond three years and is already beginning to slip compared to what was originally offered. The public deserved to see both options."

Visit http://goo.gl/IOrVVY to sign the petition.

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