A RADICAL new five year plan for the NHS means the long-awaited report into future services at the Alexandra Hospital is already out of date.
That’s the claim from Save the Alex chairman Neal Stote who believes the new document instead gives local health commissioners the green light to talk to other healthcare providers and not just the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which is struggling with a £31million deficit.
The campaign group, which has worked tirelessly to keep services at the Woodrow-based hospital, believes the new document, approved by Prime Minister David Cameron and delivered by Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, totally changes the health landscape in Redditch and Bromsgrove. As such, Mr Stote believes that ‘modified option one’ the much discussed reconfiguration of the Alex currently under consideration by the West Midlands Clinical Senate, is already out of date.
“This document we’ve been waiting so long for, it’s been bypassed by events, it’s out of date, there’s no way they can rubberstamp it now,” he said.
“It’s like saving up for six months to buy a computer and then going to buy it only to discover it’s obsolete.”
The ‘NHS Five Year Forward View’ was announced on Monday and concentrates on three key areas:
1) Prevention – Tackling smoking, fizzy drinks, junk food and accidents.
2) Care – ‘Blurring the old boundaries between GPs and hospital care’ and giving patients more choice on where they are treated.
3) Sustainability – improving efficiency by authorities working closer together, sharing skills and concentrating on spreading best practice.
“I’m not too worried if there’s another delay,” added Mr Stote, “because the important thing is to get it right as this new document is looking forward and what they come up with has to be sustainable for the forseeable future.”
In response a local health spokesperson said: “The Future of Acute Hospital Services in Worcestershire Programme Board looks forward to seeing the details of what NHS England is proposing.
In the meantime the focus of the Programme Board is the outcome of the West Midlands Clinical Senate Review and the safety and sustainability of acute hospital services in Worcestershire.”
This report is expected to be published next month.