NINETY-FIVE per cent of all Redditch and Bromsgrove patients will be treated in the same hospital that they use now under brand new plans published yesterday by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (WAHT).
The Alexandra Hospital will offer an adult-only emergency department with ‘robust’ arrangements for managing a seriously sick child if they arrive unexpectedly or their condition deteriorates while they are in the department.
However emergency surgery, inpatient care for children, and consultant-led births will be centred at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. Patients suffering a heart attack or stroke will continue to be cared for at the Royal.
The care model, created by the Future of Acute Hospitals Services in Worcestershire (FoAHSW), will see the Alex being earmarked as the centre for elective, planned surgery with the Royal in Worcestershire shouldering the burden of emergency operations.
“Redditch is already a centre of excellence for urology and the intention is to extend this to cover orthopaedics, eye and breast surgery,” said a spokeswoman.
FoAHSW chair Jo Newton, said: “We have a model which the entire Programme Board has signed up to. It provides us with a blueprint for safe and sustainable, high quality services for the county. We have answered all the concerns of the West Midlands Clinical Senate and have widespread support for the model from clinicians across the county.”
Neal Stote, chairman of the Save the Alex campaign, while welcoming the news that there will be 24 hour assessment for children but questioned the sustainability of the model and the lack of progress on the thorny issue of transport.
“If people from Malvern and Worcester will now be travelling to Redditch for their surgery they will have exactly the same problem as people from Redditch travelling to Worcester for emergency care, and they don’t appear to have made any real provision for this.
“However we welcome the addition of the 24 hour assessment unit for children but at the same time question what happened to the midwife led unit for the north of the county which was put forward.
“We also have to see how it is all going to be financed and whether this current board at WAHT have the ability to introduce and sustain it in the long term.”
FoAHSW has also put a number of transport recommendations through to the county council, including extending the frequency of the 350 bus service between Redditch and Worcester, exploring the potential of a ‘community bus’ and promoting car sharing.
The proposed model will now go to the county’s three clinical commissioning groups for consultation, before going on to the West Midlands Clinical Senate for review and NHS England. It will then go out to public consultation.
For more information visit http://www.worcsacute.nhs.uk/news/ .