A&E at Redditch's Alexandra Hospital may be downgraded

Campaigners and Redditch MP Karen Lumley have criticised the proposals

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The Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch could be downgraded under plans to shake-up NHS services.

In proposals put forward by the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, some A&E patients could be treated at the Worcestershire Royal.

The trust has stressed all three of its hospitals in Kidderminster, Worcester and Redditch will remain open.

Campaigners and Redditch MP Karen Lumley have criticised the proposals.

In a statement, the trust said stroke, major trauma and surgical emergency patients would be affected and the A&E department at Worcester would be enhanced to deal with more serious cases.

About 75% of current urgent and emergency care cases would continue to be treated at the Redditch site.

Women's services

Children's and women's services at Redditch may also be affected under plans to centralise care at Worcester.

The trust said high risk and complex obstetrics cases will be treated at the Worcestershire Royal, as will the sickest children.

Karen Lumley MP Karen Lumley MP said the trust has overlooked the takeover option

It added most children's emergency services would continue to be delivered at the Alexandra Hospital.

In June the trust had considered closing Redditch's A&E as one of six proposals to save £50m by 2015, but has since refined its options to just two.

A second of which could see the Alexandra Hospital being run by an alternative NHS provider.

In January, the Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group (RBCCG) confirmed it had been talking to three Birmingham-based trusts about a possible takeover of some services at Redditch.

'One sided' option

NHS Worcestershire chief executive, Lesley Murphy, said: "We are finalising options at this stage and not making a decision on who runs which hospital.

"The second option, to work with alternative local NHS providers, requires more work and we are also seeking advice, including from the Department of Health, on NHS competition policy on how we do this."

Analysis

For people in the north of the county who find themselves seriously injured or suffering from a stroke there is a good chance they will have to wait longer and travel further for treatment.

In future the most serious of emergencies could be dealt with by specialists at Worcestershire Royal.

But Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust argues that while journeys may take longer, the treatment will be worth the wait.

When the patients arrive the Trust assure us they will be treated by a larger team of the best clinicians keen to work for a centre of excellence.

Last year thousands of people signed a petition opposing the closure of the A&E unit in Redditch.

Neil Stote from the Save The Alex Campaign said: "I'm not happy about what they're proposing about the A&E. It's very one sided and they've ignored what a take over by a leading foundation trust could do.

The Conservative MP for Redditch, Karen Lumley, also said the take over option has been overlooked by the trust.

Shoppers in Redditch were concerned at having to travel further for emergency treatment.

Retired couple Robert and Catherine Daniels, 81 and 77, from Redditch said: "What if one us has a stroke when time is of the essence?

"It's very disappointing. Every town should have its own fully serviced and equipped hospital."

And Aaron Pinfield, 31, said travelling to Worcester or Birmingham would be too far with his two young children.

"Would we have to rely on public transport which makes the distance even more difficult?" he said.

But Andy Rogers, 37, from nearby Studley, Warwickshire, said he thought the option of a Birmingham trust taking over some some services "could work".

The trust has a legacy of debt and a £1.9m funding deficit needs to be met by April.

A three-month consultation is due to take place later in the year.

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