Redditch Alexandra's A&E should stay, says review

Campaigners have fought for 18 months to save the Alexandra Hospital's accident and emergency department

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A review of Worcestershire's hospitals has recommended Redditch's Alexandra retain its dedicated A&E department.

An independent panel said a 24-hour 'emergency centre' for ambulance admissions should be created.

Proposals published on Tuesday also recommended maternity and children's services be centralised at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Hospital bosses previously said key services could be moved elsewhere as part of efforts to save £60m.

'Workable solution'

The panel, made up of clinical experts from across the UK, did not support cost-cutting by shifting accident and emergency care to hospitals in other cities.

It said the move would result in a "significant inequality" in service provision for Worcestershire residents.

The planned emergency centre would bring together a "24hr ambulance-receiving emergency department for adults and a 24hr GP-led urgent care centre with a minor injuries unit for children and adults at the Alexandra Hospital", it added.

Analysis

There have been attempts to reorganise services in Worcestershire since 2006.

Today's independent report is an attempt to break the latest deadlock, which began in 2012.

The government's healthcare changes gave budgets to GPs.

GPs in Redditch and Bromsgrove decided that the changes were not in their patients' interests and sought an alliance with University Hospital Birmingham to take over The Alexandra Hospital.

This independent report quashes that plan, but its findings are rather similar to the conclusions in Stafford, suggesting there's a national strategy.

Children and adults with more serious conditions would then be transferred for specialist care at Worcester's Royal Hospital, they said.

A consultant-led maternity service should be centralised at the Worcestershire Royal, but Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) should consider "a stand-alone midwife-led birth centre" for North Worcestershire, the panel concluded.

Nigel Beasley, chair of the Independent Clinical Review Panel, said the recommendations would "support sustainable health services now and in the future".

Penny Venable, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, described the proposals as "a very workable solution".

Jonathan Wells, chair and clinical lead of NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, said: "We particularly welcome the panel's firm recommendation that an emergency department must remain at the Alexandra Hospital."

The three Worcestershire CCGs and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust will now consider the panel's proposals.

If all the boards support the recommendations, they will be put out for public consultation in the autumn.

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