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Agreement on the future of Worcestershire’s acute hospitals expected
5:50pm Tuesday 15th October 2013 in Local
AFTER nearly 18 months concerned residents, campaigners, councillors and MPs, could find out the fate of Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital.
NHS chief David Williams says he is confident an agreement will be reached on the future of Worcestershire’s acute hospitals on December 18.
More than a year and a half into the much-delayed process, health bosses have still not agreed how the county’s hospitals will be reconfigured to save about £50 million.
As previously reported in the Advertiser, GPs in south Worcestershire favour centralising acute services at Worcester whereas counterparts in Redditch and Bromsgrove believe it is important to retain the likes of maternity and full A&E services at the Alex Hospital.
A 12-week review process aiming to agree a way forward for county hospitals is now underway.
An independent clinical review panel is being assembled which, along with several sub-committees representing groups including patients and local medics, will consider the viability of two options that remain on the table.
These are for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to continue running Worcestershire Royal, Kidderminster Hospital and the Alex, or for another trust, likely to be a Birmingham-based trust, to take over in Redditch.
By the end of the 12-week process, on Wednesday, December 18, the independent panel and sub-committees will report to a newly-formed programme board, which will need to make a recommendation on how to proceed.
A decision on whether to accept the recommendation will then fall on Worcestershire’s clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and the acute trust.
Mr Williams, director of operations and delivery at NHS England Midlands and East, told members at a recent health overview and scrutiny committee meeting he is confident all parties will agree a recommendation.
But he admitted there is no guarantee.
“There is potential for CCGs or the acute trust to disagree on any final decision,” he said.
“But we would expect that if we reach agreement in the programme board then those decisions would be ratified.”
He said in the “rare occurrence” of the parties not agreeing, NHS England and the NHS Trust Development Authority would step in.
However, councillors said they were sceptical of an agreement.
Referring to Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG’s recently-published draft prospectus councillor Philip Gretton said he felt there was very little chance of agreement being reached.
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