I have to disagree with Mr Breillat and others who feel that the decision over services at the Alexandra Hospital, Redditch, has already been made – they must remember that we won back in 2007.
We are at the start of a long Save The Alex Campaign. It was back in 2005 that Worcester Acute Hospitals Trust first put forward proposals to cut A&E, maternity and pediatrics from the Alex, but all these proposals were eventually drop-ped in 2007 following the successful Save The Alex Campaign which challenged the acute trust at every turn.
We only had a total of 19,000 signatures for that petition. This time we already have more than 37,0000 signatures and cross-party political support from across the area which the Alex serves.
Since winning in 2007, the population serviced by the Alex has got bigger and is due to expand with further overflow from Birmingham. The early baby unit has reopened at the Alex and the birth rate at the Alex has substantially increased from just over 1,500 to well over 2,000 per year. About 55,000 people also use the A&E service.
The debate is not just about money or what the acute trust can provide clinically, it is also one of capacity at other hospitals and access to those hospitals. We know that Worcester Royal’s A&E department reg-ularly diverts to the Alex, and vice versa, and we know that the trust would have to expand at massive cost the current maternity unit at the Royal to cope with the increase in extra mums as this was the case in the previous campaign.
The questions around funding, Europe and NHS policy all feed into a wider debate. I am campaigning for retention of A&E and maternity services at the Alexandra Hospital. Let me assure your readers and the Worcester Acute Hospitals Trust that if it takes the campaign another three years to Save the Alex, then so be it.
Neal Stote, Astwood Bank, Redditch