Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Plan leads to fears of centralised casualty for the county
5:40am Thursday 6th September 2012 in News
NHS bosses have denied their plans to extend Worcester’s A&E department prove they have already decided to centralise casualty services in the county.
Their comments come after it was revealed that Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which manages the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch and Worcestershire Royal Hospital, will be submitting a planning application to Worcester City Council for a new A&E unit at Worcester.
The move has caused concern among campaigners fighting to keep A&E services at Redditch.
Earlier this year, the trust launched a Joint Services Review (JSR) to see how it could plug a £50 million gap in NHS finances over the next three years, caused by the increasing costs of patient demand and new treatments.
One option is to close the A&E department at either Redditch or Worcester.
Rebecca Blake, Redditch Labour Parliamentary spokesman, told our sister paper the Redditch Advertiser: “This is either a clear acknowledgement that there is not enough capacity in the system to adequately care for the number of people who need A&E in Worcestershire or despite having reassured people that no decision has been made, is Worcestershire Royal preparing to take on more patients once the Alex A&E is closed?”
But an NHS spokesman robustly denied that the planning application has anything to do with the JSR. Instead, she said, it was for a surgical clinical decision unit, similar to one already installed at The Alexandra. The unit would be used to assess surgical emergencies that would previously have been admitted on a trolley to A&E.
“This not only increases bed space and frees up emergency department staff to care for non-surgical emergency treatment but improves care, safety and treatment for patients requiring urgent surgery,” she said.