A major review of acute services in Worcestershire has recommended reducing the number of patients being seen at Alexandra Hospital in Redditch by around a quarter.
All three hospitals in the county, Kidderminster, Worcester and Redditch would remain open under the proposals but there would be see changes to A&E, maternity and children’s services.
A review of services delivered by the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust was launched jointly by trusts and commissioners last year after the trust revealed it needed to save £50m by 2014-15.
It was also hit by a shortage of specialist consultants and could not afford to staff the services as they were currently configured.
The outcome reflects predictions made in an HSJ briefing on the issue in September.
The review has proposed A&E services at the Alexandra Hospital will continue to provide local emergency care under the proposals with a 24 hour minor injuries unit and a GP service on the site.
It would continue to treat around 75 per cent cases with the remainder being sent to an enhanced A&E department at Worcester which would deal with the county’s major emergencies including major trauma, emergency surgery, stroke and heart attack patients.
The review, backed by local clinicians, said this proposal would lead to improved patient outcomes.
A paediatric assessment unit will be provided at Redditch and Worcester meaning the majority of children’s emergency services would continue to be delivered at the Alexandra Hospital with only the most serious cases going to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
Children’s outpatient services would continue to be delivered across all three hospitals.
For women’s services, high risk and complex obstetrics cases will also be centralised in Worcester with midwifery led services available at local sites.
As well as considering the service changes, the review has put forward the possibility of another NHS provider taking over delivery of services in Redditch.
GP and chair of Worcestershire’s clinical senate Anthony Kelly said: “We recognised from the outset that doing nothing was never an option. Across the country there is a shortage of experienced doctors in some key areas, particularly in A&E, women’s and children’s services. Without these changes healthcare across Worcestershire would suffer.”
A three month consultation and public engagement is expected to take place on the plans after county council elections in May.
Information supplied to HSJ