CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save services at the Alexandra Hospital have voiced their concerns after a major incident consultant was called in at Worcestershire Royal Hospital last Friday after a flood of patients hit its A&E department.
There were reports of patients waiting for up to five hours at a time on trolleys, prompting Neal Stote, chairman of the Save the Alex campaign, to say it all bodes ill for the people of Redditch if planned changes tothe A&E unit at the Alex go ahead.
“This shows that the acute hospital simply cannot cope – and by its own admission,” he said.
It’s time for all their plans to reconfigure services at the Alex to be scrapped because you cannot have the situation at Worcester made worse than it is at the moment when more patients start to arrive from Redditch.
“Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is trying to make us go to a hospital which is not only hard to get to but a hospital which, when you get there, is unable to cope.”
Rebecca Blake, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Redditch said: “Many Redditch patients are treated in Worcestershire Royal Hospital and this will be a concern to local people.
“I want to know what actions have come out of the Risk Summit held last month. It is imperative that we have a safe, sustainable and accessible A&E yet this is under renewed threat.
“Only a few weeks ago the Care Quality Commission said it had no real concerns but I understand people were waiting for five hours on trolleys at Worcester.
“The Alex is the most important issue for the people of Redditch and its future must be prioritised.”
Karen Lumley, parliamentary candidate for the Conservative Party for Redditch said: “This incident has shown that this area cannot cope without two A&E units.
“We have received assurances that there will be an A&E at the Alex and I will continue to fight for the Alex – it is vital for the people of Redditch.
“Our A&E department is strong, its staff are first class, they do a fantastic job and we should support them.”
The major incident consultant was called in to at Worcester last Friday by ambulance chiefs to help deal with a flood of patients.
A West Midlands Ambulance Trust spokesman said: “Due to the number of patients being cared for by ambulance staff in the hospital, the trust had outstanding 999 calls in Worcestershire that we had no ambulances to send to, which potentially put those patients at risk.
“Working with ambulance crews and managers, the MIO oversaw seven patients in the hospital corridor, with a further patient on an ambulance outside.
“In addition, we have raised our concerns about the hospital with the Care Quality Commission on a number of occasions. The ambulance service has insisted that the hospital formally record this as a Serious Incident and that a full investigation is conducted by them.
“One patient was cared for by ambulance staff on the corridor for over five hours despite complaining of cardiac related chest pains.
“This is the first time the trust has taken the decision to send an MIO to a hospital. It was a decision not taken lightly.”
Plans currently under consideration at the Alex would see major injuries transferred to Worcester Royal as well as overnight paediatrics and consultant-led maternity patients.
A spokesperson for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Both the hospital and ambulance service are working under extreme pressures at the moment, due to a number of external factors.
“Regretfully these pressures have meant some patients being treated in less than ideal conditions and we accept this is not good enough and are working very hard to put this right. We are sorry for any distress caused to patients and their families. We now need to work together with the ambulance service and other partners to sort the situation out as soon as possible.
“We can confirm that on Friday, April 10 West Midlands Ambulance paramedics were asked to look after a number of patients in the corridor before they could be transferred into the care of the A&E staff.
“Whilst the A&E department were unable to allow the ambulance staff to handover the patients, the A&E staff were aware of their conditions and we wish to assure people that no patients came to any harm.”