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Hospitals trust urged to come clean about intentions
11:40am Thursday 6th September 2012 in News
WORCESTERSHIRE Acute NHS Hospitals Trust has been urged to “come clean about its intentions” regarding an application for a unit to free up A&E in Worcester.
The Advertiser can reveal that the trust, which manages the Alexandra Hospital and the Worcester Royal, will be submitting a planning application for a unit to support A&E at Worcester Royal.
The move has caused concern among campaigners who believe that, as part of a joint services review (JSR), services will shut at Redditch rather than the Private Finance Initiative hospital in Worcester.
Rebecca Blake, Redditch Labour Parliamentary Spokesman, said: "I am stunned that plans to effectively extend A&E in Worcester are underway, given the trust are yet to fully consult with local people.
“The trust must come clean about their intentions.”
She added: "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 Worcester Royal preparing to take on more patients once the Alex A&E is closed?"
The JSR, launched in January, is to plug a £50 million gap in NHS finances which will open up over the next three years unless something is done as funding is not keeping pace with rising patient demand and the cost of new treatments.
NHS bosses also believe centralising some services could solve staffing shortages and recruitment problems and improve patient care.
An NHS spokesman robustly denied that the planning application has anything to do with the JSR and is for a surgical clinical decision unit.
She said the unit, used to free up space at A&E, is a replica of what is already at the Alex Hospital.