‘THE ALEX has lost a champion’ – that was the verdict of Save the Alex chairman Neal Stote following news that top doctor Jonathan Wells, chairman of the local Clinical Commissioning Group, will not be putting himself forward for re-election.
Dr Wells has been in the forefront of the battle to retain services at the Alexandra Hospital and confessed life in the firing line had at times been tough – and with no one coming forward to take his place, the position will be filled by temporarily by vice chair Dr Richard Davies of The Ridgeway Surgery.
“It’s been a very difficult position – we have been at the brunt of the changes and I have been under a lot of personal pressure with the acute services review over the last four years.
“However, obviously I have greatly enjoyed furthering the health and well being of the people of Redditch and Bromsgrove.”
The GP, who practices at Hillview Surgery on Bromsgrove Road, said it had been his mission to get the best possible care for the people of Redditch and Bromsgrove.
“The hospital services review overall has been the most difficult element to be involved with – we have been determined to get the best possible outcomes for our patients and we have been aware of how difficult it is for our patients to get to Worcester,” he said.
However there have been highlights: “Back in 2012 we came very close to getting just a minor injuries unit at the Alex and we fought against that and the clinical review panel supported our position and this was avoided.”
Dr Wells has also been revolutionary in his approach to keeping patients and residents informed about what was going on.
“The NHS is not very good at being open and transparent, decisions tend to be made behind closed doors but I hope I’ve been able to show decision making in an open way through our patient forums, having open questions instead of fixed questions, using twitter and my blog to try and bring the decisions we are making to the patients so that they are more involved.”
Mr Stote from Save the Alex said: “The wrong person has resigned. Something is wrong when someone like Dr Wells, who has fought hard in the best interests of his patients and who has been under tremendous pressure from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust feels he is unable to continue when someone like the trust’s chairman, Harry Turner, chairman of a trust that’s been branded inadequate and is in special measures, continues in post.
“The Alex has lost a champion.”