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County hospital could be run from Birmingham
WORCESTERSHIRE health chiefs are in talks which could see a Birmingham NHS trust take over a Redditch hospital.
A Birmingham hospital trust could take over the Alexandra Hospital, now run by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
The NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which pays for health services in the north of the county announced today that it is in talks with University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Woman’s NHS Foundation Trust about services in Redditch
But Penny Venables, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The trust has not put forward any proposals to ‘severely downgrade the Alex’ or to ‘centralise all services into Worcester’. The Alexandra Hospital is an integral part of the trust and there are no plans for it to be transferred to another organisation.”
Leaders in the south of the county say any such move must not ‘destabilise’ Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust which also runs Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester.
Medical experts from the Clinical Senate are unanimous in wanting to have A&E, obstetrics and paediatrics centralised at Worcester and closed at Redditch.
But Karen Lumley, the Redditch MP, said she understood about 90 per cent of services at the Alexandra Hospital would stay if a deal is secured with University Hospitals Birmingham in the coming weeks. These talks are taking place with the full support of the other NHS bosses in Worcestershire, including the governing body of South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (SWCCG) which met yesterday at Pershore Civic Centre.
Dr Carl Ellson, the clinical executive lead at the SWCGG, said their job over the next two to three months was to ‘ensure what is left in the south (of Worcestershire) is a sustainable provision of services for the residents of south Worcestershire’ and that these services were ‘not jeopardised’.
He said: “We have to make sure it doesn’t destabilise the range of services left to commission on behalf of you, the south Worcestershire patients.”
Chief operating officer for SWCGG, Simon Trickett, said the move was ‘speculative’. No formal options have yet been announced as part of the joint services review which began a year ago this month and first raised the possibility that services at Redditch could close and be centralised at Worcester.
Dr Jonathan Wells, chair and clinical lead of the Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG said: “We are determined that the Alex remains a thriving local hospital providing a wide range of services for local people. We intend that these include both routine and emergency care as well as services for women and children. Our discussions with the Birmingham based NHS Foundation Trusts have been very positive and we are continuing to work with these trusts and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust on a comprehensive model of care for local people.”
The Clinical Commissioning Group would expect to be in a position to lead formal public consultation on the proposed changes in the summer of 2013.