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The Joint Services Review NHS panel leaders say they need more time to look at the options discussed
THE panel tasked with reviewing the county's hospital system is delaying the next stage of its work to look more closely at its existing options.
The NHS Joint Services Review (JSR) on Tuesday met to discuss all the work done on the review, which will directly affect the hospitals at Worcester, Redditch and Kidderminster, and what services they will deliver in future.
Among the options being reviewed and consulted upon, are the closure of the accident and emergency departments at either the Worcestershire Royal Hospital or Redditch's Alexandra Hospital.
The trigger for the review is the need to close a funding gap of £200 million over the next four years across the NHS in Worcestershire.
Of this sum, £50 million is expected to come from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust which manages the hospitals.
But following Tuesday's meeting, the review panel concluded more work was needed before the current list of six options can be shortened, and further consulted upon.
A statement from the JSR panel read it was "agreed that more information was needed" before the short-listing could happen.
"Some of the published models [for how hospital services are delivered] include the possibility of certain services at one or more hospitals being delivered in alternative ways.
"The JSR wants to look more closely at the potential implications and consequences of these alternative arrangements."
Eamonn Kelly, NHS Worcestershire chief executive, said: “It is so important we get this right for local people.
"Good progress is being made.
"We remain committed to finding the best possible combination of high quality, safe, accessible, sustainable and affordable services for the people who use the NHS in Worcestershire, now and in the future.
"This will have implications for our timetable but we have said all along that rather than sticking to a rigid plan we would be flexible. ”