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09.07.13

Worcestershire reconfiguration plans still not ready

Plans to reconfigure acute care in Worcestershire, aimed at saving £50m, have still not been revealed six months after the original deadline.

The Worcester News reported that a Worcestershire County Council health overview and scrutiny committee meeting heard that NHS staff felt “disillusioned” and the public were “feeling let down”.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has three sites currently – Worcester, Redditch and Kidderminster – and the changes are likely to involve a scaling back of services at Redditch and more centralisation at Worcester.

But the precise plans, originally meant to go out to public consultation by the end of last year, are still being debated, and could involve a new provider at Redditch, the paper reported.

It quoted Simon Hairsnape, chief officer of Wyre Forest and Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Groups, as saying: “The easiest thing in Worcestershire would have just been to ignore the whole problem and not start the process at all. But we felt that would have been failing the people and we were not prepared to just stand around and watch services fall over.

“We were in the vanguard of change and that is a very difficult place to be. But however difficult this process is proving to be, it is the right thing to do.

“If not then, not next week or next month, but at some point services would have started failing simply because of our inaction.”

He insisted the review is about the best solution for all patients in Worcestershire, not “protecting” particular NHS organisations such as the acute trust.

(Photo showing entrance to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital copyright ruthhb, some rights reserved, used here under a Creative Commons licence.)

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