WORKFORCE: Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust has managed to fill four out of five vacant accident and emergency consultant posts after a group of consultants resigned en masse in protest at the way a review of acute services was being handled.

Five consultants, four from the trust’s Alexandra Hospital, in Redditch and one from the Worcester Royal Hospital, resigned in February and sent the trust management an open resignation letter accusing managers of undermining services at the Alexandra.

But a response letter from five of the trust’s clinical directors challenged their interpretation of events.

Now the trust has said it has appointed three of the four posts at the Alexandra Hospital with plans to fill the fourth post. This is in addition to the appointment of a permanent doctor in Worcester last month.

The successful recruitments come despite a widespread shortage of accident and emergency consultants across the country. The College of Emergency Medicine has indicated a need for as many as 1,100 additional consultants.

The trust said in a statement: “All three consultants currently operate as practising emergency department consultants. Start dates are currently being finalised, but based on existing notice periods it is likely they will all join us at the beginning of August. In addition, we have secured an experienced agency consultant for the June to August months.”

It added: “Now that we have made appointments and have plans to fill the fourth post, we will be meeting with the West Midlands deanery in order to provide assurance around our continued educational support for our junior doctors.”

The trust is currently in the process of evaluating a reconfiguration proposal which would see the A&E at Alexandra Hospital become an emergency centre linked with Worcester Royal. Worcester Royal would take over treatment of the most seriously ill patients and inpatient paediatrics.

Local patient campaign group Save the Alex has called for the Alexandra to be taken over by University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust, although there are no plans for this to happen and the idea of a takeover was previously dismissed by a service review.