Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust reject claims over plans to close A&E department at the Alexandra Hospital
Following speculation over the weekend, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust rejects claims that there are plans to close the A&E department at the Alexandra Hospital.
Chris Tidman chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said:
“We remain fully committed to the clinical model which has been developed by clinicians from across the County and is currently going forward to the Clinical Senate. This proposal supports an adult only A&E and a new GP urgent care service which means that 95% of patients will continue to be seen and assessed at the Alexandra. This kind of speculation about the closure of parts of our hospitals infrastructure is very damaging as we rely on two emergency departments across Worcestershire and will do for many years to come to meet the needs of the local population. Emergency medicine at both sites is essential for the whole health system of Worcestershire. Undermining confidence in their future will make it harder for us to recruit.
“In addition to this immediate work, the County, like all other areas, is also required by NHS England to develop a ‘sustainability and transformation plan’ (STP). This requires organisations in Herefordshire and Worcestershire to review health and wellbeing, care and quality, and funding and efficiency over the next five years. Part of this work includes clinically–led discussions on creating a five to 10 year vision for medicine across the two Counties. An initial clinical discussion on how to develop a strategic vision for acute and specialty medicine has taken place but no plans are in place and no decisions or options have been agreed or made. This work is part of the STP and overtime will involve all stakeholders including the public.
“Our main focus is developing safe and sustainable services across Worcestershire along with providing reassurance to both staff and members of the public so they are fully aware of which hospital site delivers which care. Any other discussions that are taking place are longer term and do not relate to the clinical model which is about ensuring that services here and now are safe and high quality.”
“Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust continue to be fully supportive of the clinical model which is going forward to the Clinical Senate which supports an adult only A&E and a new GP urgent care service which means that 95% of patients will continue to be seen and assessed at the Alexandra.
“Under the proposed changes, the emergency pathways will be reconfigured to divert 5% of the most acute emergencies directly to Worcestershire Royal A&E, while ensuring that 95% of patients continue to be seen and assessed at Alexandra Hospital.
“Over a 2-3 year period the A&E Department at the Alexandra Hospital will convert to a networked Emergency Centre as recommended in the Keogh Report.
“It will be for adults only but will be capable of safe initial management and transfer if a very sick child arrives unexpectedly. Emergency flow pathways to support the changes have been agreed with West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (WMAS). A primary care led Urgent Care Centre for children and adults will be integrated within the emergency department at the Alexandra Hospital. Care for children in the Urgent Care Centre will be supported by:
- Staff on duty trained in paediatric life support to manage any unexpectedly ill child
- Access to immediate telephone/telemedicine support from paediatric consultants at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital
- Secondary transfer arrangements to inpatient facilities
- Community hub arrangements including links to an enhanced hospital at home service
“Guidance for commissioners regarding Urgent Care Centres has been published by NHS England and the plans contained in this model follow the NHS England guidance.
“The A&E Department at WRH will evolve into a Major Emergency Centre, with 14-16 A&E consultants, some of whom will provide cover to the Alexandra Emergency Centre on a rotating basis, supported by middle-grade staff.”