THE financial implications of an ambitious plan to restructure hospital services in Worcestershire should be revealed by April.
Last month a long-awaited independent report into the future of services at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Kidderminster Hospital and Redditch's Alexandra Hospital was presented, recommending the most seriously injured or unwell patients should be taken to Worcester.
But some said there was no way of knowing how realistic the plans were as the independent panel had not considered how much they would cost to impliment or save in the long term.
Speaking at a meeting of the Worcestershire Health and Wellbeing Board on Tuesday, February 11, David Williams from NHS England said the report would need to be studied in some detail to ensure when the changes are put in place were done so in a way that was best for patients.
"We wouldn't want to have people coming to one site and that site not being able to respond," he said.
He said NHS England would be working alongside the county's Clinical Commissioning Groups, West Midlands Ambulance Service and other medical organisations would be working together to examine the finer detail of the plans over the coming months.
He told the meeting at Worcester's County Hall it was hoped the financial modelling element of the plans would be in place by April and it was hoped a public consultation could be launched by the end of the summer.
Clinical chairman of Redditch and Bromsgrove Clincial Commissionng Jonathan Wells said this was only the start of a very long process.
"Everything will need to be in place before changes are made," he said.
Although it had been suggested the A&E department at the Alexandra Hospital could be closed to cut costs, this idea was thrown out over concerns people living in the north of the county would be left with a lower standard of service to those in the south.
The review also recommended consultant-led maternity services and paediatric services should be centralised in Worcester and that public transport links between the three hospitals should be reviewed.