Plans hold-up threat to NHS of the future

Worcester News: Plans hold-up threat to NHS of the future Plans hold-up threat to NHS of the future

DELAYS deciding the future of acute hospital services in Worcestershire are making it difficult to plan for future health needs, an influential GP has warned.

With a review into how and where hospital services should be provided still rumbling on after more than 18 months, Dr Jim Goodwin reveals that the uncertainty is causing a “planning blight” for those charged with spending NHS budgets efficiently and effectively.

Dr Goodman, a GP in Stourport and a clinical commissioning group representative on Worcestershire’s powerful health and wellbeing board, is urging those involved in the complex review to reach a resolution as soon as possible.

Worcestershire’s three commissioning groups are charged with deciding how the county’s NHS funding should be spent and currently plough half of their total cash into acute services. Dr Goodman said: “It is a struggle not knowing where we are going to be next year or maybe even the year after that – or after that.”

Health and wellbeing board chairman Councillor Marcus Hart has also demanded assurances that the review is moving forward with “the requisite pace”.

“This whole review was predicated on patient safety,” he said. “We need to reassure ourselves that the appropriate pace is taking place and that residents of Worcestershire have some indication that a transparent review is under way and there is a timeline for decision making.”

David Williams, director of operations and delivery for NHS England in Arden, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, said he would be better able to give answers once an independent review comes to an end.

“I think we will be able to say then what the timescales are and it will depend on what that clinical panel says,” he said. “The big issue is to make sure that we get to the right response.

Two options for acute hospitals in Worcestershire are being considered. One is for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust to continue running Worcestershire Royal, Redditch’s Alexandra and Kidderminster hospitals, with services including A&E downgraded at Redditch in favour of centralisation at Worcester.

However, stripping services from the Alexandra is not supported by doctors in the north of the county.

The alternative is for another provider, likely to be a Birmingham-based trust, to take over the Alexander.

Comments (1)

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9:42am Sat 21 Dec 13

Stephen Brown says...

Actually, the rationale is predicated on saving £50million in the safest way possible which is somewhat different to saying the review is predicated on safety alone. In my view, Worcestershire NHS needs more funding but won't get it and so the review goes on. Things ARE moving on but scrapping PCTs and introducing CCGs in the Govts controversial Health Bill slap bang in the middle of the original JSR rather put a spanner in the whole works and stretched it out.

The key is ensuring that the NHS recognises we keep all facilities we have in Kidderminster, that across Worcestershire we have a cohesive service, and that patient transport and accessibility issues figure prominently and that such costs are not just dumped on patients so the NHS can save money.

Unfortunately, what we are seeing developing now is a wrestling match between county areas and even NHS departments as everyone has their own vested interest agenda here, which is what happens when services are fragmented and put out to commission in an increasingly privatised health service thanks to poor Govt policy.
Actually, the rationale is predicated on saving £50million in the safest way possible which is somewhat different to saying the review is predicated on safety alone. In my view, Worcestershire NHS needs more funding but won't get it and so the review goes on. Things ARE moving on but scrapping PCTs and introducing CCGs in the Govts controversial Health Bill slap bang in the middle of the original JSR rather put a spanner in the whole works and stretched it out. The key is ensuring that the NHS recognises we keep all facilities we have in Kidderminster, that across Worcestershire we have a cohesive service, and that patient transport and accessibility issues figure prominently and that such costs are not just dumped on patients so the NHS can save money. Unfortunately, what we are seeing developing now is a wrestling match between county areas and even NHS departments as everyone has their own vested interest agenda here, which is what happens when services are fragmented and put out to commission in an increasingly privatised health service thanks to poor Govt policy. Stephen Brown
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