CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save a Worcestershire hospital are urging people in the county to urge their MP to vote against a care bill clause that they say would make it easier to close A&E departments without consultation.
The Save the Alex pressure group - which has been fighting against proposals to downgrade the A&E department at Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital since plans were mooted as a cost-saving measure in 2012 - has joined forces with national campaign group 38 Degrees to persuade MPs to vote against the care bill clause 119, dubbed the Hospital Closure Clause by opponents.
If the clause passes through parliament the groups say decisions on closing hospitals could be made in just 40 days with little or no consultation.
Save The Alex chairman Neal Stote said the group had been assured any decision on the future of the hospital would be made only after strict public consultation, but he was concerned the clause would snatch this away.
"Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust lost another £500,000 in January and is set to end the year £12 million in debt,” he said.
“This puts the trust at real risk of going into administration meaning clause 119 would come into force"
"We have fought too hard for the final decision to be snatched away from us – a trust special administrator decision that would be made on the hoof instead with little public scrutiny."
A recent independent review of A&E services in the county did not recommend downgrading the Alexandra Hospital, but the financial elements of the proposals in the report are still being examined.
Campaigns director at 38 Degrees Blanche Jones said: "No government should have the power to close any hospital without listening to local people.
“It’s important that these decisions aren’t made against the wishes of the local community, patients, and experts like doctors and nurses."
Members of both groups are set to meet Redditch MP Karen Lumley on Thursday, March 6 to plead with her to vote against the clause.