Future of acute hospital services to be revealed next year

THE future of acute hospital services in Worcestershire will not be revealed until January.

An independent panel of health experts from across the country confirmed that they will issue their report into the future of hospital services, including those at The Alexandra Hospital, in the New Year.

The Independent Clinical Review Panel - made up of GPs, hospital doctors, nurses and specialist consultants - have met several times over the last month to collectively scrutinise evidence for the two options presented by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and the three Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups.

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

However, stripping services from the Alex is not supported by doctors in the north of the county.
Option two, the one favoured by campaigners and MPs trying to save services at the Alex, is that an alternative provider, likely to be a Birmingham-based trust, manages services at the Alex, with Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust continuing to run services in Worcester and Kidderminster.

Evidence was also heard from the West Midlands Strategic Clinical Networks, West Midlands Ambulance Service and Public Health.

This work is now complete and conclusions are in the process of being documented.

The work is part of the Future of Acute Hospital Services in Worcestershire programme which was launched in September this year to take forward the proposals outlined a review into how and where hospital services should be provided, which is still rumbling on after more than 18 months.

A report outlining the recommendations of the review will be handed over to the programme board in January.

It will then be up to the three Clinical Commissioning Groups to consult with the public on and make decisions on how acute hospital services will be provided in the future.

Martin Lee, clinical director for NHS England, Arden Herefordshire and Worcestershire, said: “The Independent Clinical Review process has been of great value in assessing the clinical quality and safety of the proposed options and also how hospital care for patients can be sustained in the future.

“It has been really helpful to have the views of external experts on the best way of delivering excellent health services to people in Worcestershire.”

Mark Wake, from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, added: “We all need to work together to achieve high quality and sustainable clinical services.”

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