Hereford & Worcester

A&E plans at Redditch's Alexandra Hospital 'threatens lives'

Alexandra Hospital, Redditch
Image caption Some A&E patients at Redditch could be treated at Worcester in future

Patients lives could be put at risk if the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at Redditch's Alexandra Hospital is downgraded, unions say.

The proposal to treat some A&E patients in Worcester instead of Redditch is being considered by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

Ray Salmon, the regional organiser for Unison, said ambulance staff are already under pressure.

A consultation over the plans is due to take place later in the year.

Mr Salmon, who represents members of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: "The service is already quite often working at full capacity and staff are working under tremendous pressure.

"If you start downgrading services you're going to add to that pressure and if you start transferring patients further then you start introducing delays and putting people's lives at risk.

"Clearly the Alexandra Hospital needs to be saved."

He added transporting patients by ambulance from parts of north Worcestershire to the Worcester hospital could take more than an hour.

On Wednesday the trust said about 75% of current urgent and emergency care cases would continue to be treated at the Redditch site.

The A&E department at Worcester would be enhanced to deal with more serious cases.

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

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.

The second could see a Birmingham health trust takeover some services the Alexandra Hospital.

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