Hospital plans given backing

THE planned restructuring of hospital services in Worcestershire has taken a step closer to completion after medical governing bodies across the country threw their support behind the plans.

The county’s three Clinical Commissioning Groups – South Worcestershire, Redditch and Bromsgrove and Wyre Forest – as well as the board of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust have accepted the recommendations of the independent review into hospital services.

The plans presented last month recommended the A&E department at Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital should remain open and continue to deal with all but the most serious cases.

The report also recommended consultant-led maternity services and paediatric inpatients should be centralised at Worcestershire Royal Hospital while a stand-alone midwifery centre is set up in the north of the county and that public transport links between the hospitals should be reviewed.

Chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust Penny Venables said: “For the first time in Worcestershire we have a clear clinical vision for the future of acute hospital services which will serve Worcestershire for many years.

“We look forward to working with our CCG partners to take this vision forward.”

Chairman of NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group Dr Jonathan Wells said the agreement represented a milestone in the process.

“We look forward to continuing to work with our NHS colleagues in further defining the agreed clinical model and ensuring it works for our patients and for the rest of the county,” he said. “In particular we recognise that public transport must be improved.”

Although it had previously been suggested that the Redditch’s A&E department could be closed to save cash, the panel of clinical experts who put together the report did not support this idea.

The three CCGs and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust will now work with organisations in the county to examine the finer details of the plan, including the costs and savings involved.

A public consultation is expected to be launched later this year.

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