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“It’s people that matter, not options”
1:10pm Tuesday 12th March 2013 in News
HUNDREDS of people made their feelings clear at a public meeting last night regarding the future of Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital.
Leader of the Save The Alex Campaign Neal Stote was joined by Dr Jonathan Wells from NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), responsible for commissioning services at the Alex from next month, along with others.
Held at Redditch’s Palace Theatre it was a performance of a different kind as there were angry shouts from the crowd throughout including former town mayor Madge Tillsley who said “It’s people that matter, not options”.
Following a passionate presentation from Mr Stote, as well as Dr Wells, people had the chance to quiz the panel.
Concerned residents, councillors and community leaders raised a number of vital issues including maternity services, travel arrangements, and lack of capacity at Worcester Royal.
One woman said that she was “lucky to be here” after heart problems and that if she had had to travel from Redditch to Worcester she would not have lived.
The meeting comes after it was revealed the Alex Hospital could be downgraded following a review into the future of health services.
Proposals put forward by the recent review would see about 25 per cent of emergency cases currently treated at the Alex instead handled in Worcester.
Children’s and women’s services at Redditch may also be affected, with high risk and complex obstetrics cases to be treated in Worcester, along with the sickest children.
A second option was given, for provider University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) to deliver services at the Alex - the clear favourite of campaigners, residents and the CCG.
Speaking after the meeting Mr Stote said the main aim was to show people that there are two options and to reassure worried residents.
“I’m really pleased with how it went, it was a good turnout and we had a lot of people watching live via the internet,” he said.
“The campaign is now hoping that Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust allows UHB access to information they need so they can work out what exactly they can offer.
“We will continue to lobby politicians that option two should be looked at in more detail and we will continue to get out on the street and listen to what the people are saying.”
Dr Wells added that no decision has yet been taken and that the commitment of the CCG is that the Alex remain a thriving hospital.
Following public engagement in the next few months there will be an consultation in August and September with a final decision expected in November.
It is thought any changes will start to be implemented after that.