PATIENTS and campaigners will have to wait until at least the new year to find out the future of the Alexandra Hospital.
As part of a joint services review health chiefs announced last week that they would now be looking to deliver services at all three hospitals - including the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and Kidderminster Hospital.
However, they issued no guarantee that the Redditch hospital will keep its A&E and maternity services and have said the hospital is “most likely to be affected” by any changes.
There is also still no shortlist of options for any service overhaul.
Leaders said they now aim to have more public engagement, publish a shortlist of options and formally consult with the public in January.
NHS Worcestershire’s chief executive, Eamonn Kelly, said: “Although no final shortlist has been drawn up we are now focusing our work on delivering services at all three hospitals.”
Bosses will now review and refine the clinical and financial detail of the models but say they want as many services as possible at Redditch.
This involves seeing if parts of the NHS can work more closely together to provide some health services.
No details have yet been published but it has been reported that GPs from the Redditch and Bromsgrove clinical commissioning group were in talks with the NHS in Birmingham to see if hospitals there could provide emergency care for patients.
Neal Stote, from the Save the Alex campaign, said that greater clarification on the implications for the Alex is needed.
“We feel the decision announced shows just how unprepared the trust was when it came out with its six original models and had not considered many of the factors the campaign and the public has raised with them,” he said.
“We also remain concerned about the impact a further delay will have on staff morale and attempts to retain and recruit staff.
“By the time shortlisted options are released services will have been under threat for more than six months.”
Mr Stote added: “The campaign will continue, as it is clear the threat to services at the Alex remains.”
Redditch Council leader Bill Hartnett said that he was concerned that the Alex is singled-out as the site most likely to be affected.
He said: “Myself and leader of Bromsgrove District Council Roger Hollingworth are working together to make sure the health needs of residents are not compromised in any way.
“I want to reassure residents that the council is in their corner and we are working hard to save the Alex.
NHS leaders have agreed that “no change” is not an option as they seek to save £50 million across the three hospitals over the next three years and £200 million from across the NHS in Worcestershire as a whole.