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Response to the West Midlands Clinical Senate Report from Worcestershire Clinicians

As clinicians in Worcestershire we want to place on record our total commitment to the Future of Acute Hospital Services in Worcestershire programme.

The West Midlands Clinical Senate report is the second independent clinical report written by a group of clinical experts from across the country which has endorsed the need for change to the configuration of clinical services in Worcestershire and accepted the Programme Board’s proposals to centralise inpatient children’s services, consultant-led births and emergency surgery at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital. We recognise that there is still work to do on the emergency department model and we are looking forward to the imminent publication of the next phase of Sir Bruce Keogh’s Urgent and Emergency Care Review which we understand will provide guidance on the delivering emergency services, including Emergency Departments and Networked Emergency Units. This will help us to ensure our plans fit within national guidelines.

Patient safety is at the very heart of everything we do. The models of care have been developed by Worcestershire’s doctors, surgeons, GPs and clinicians from a wide range of disciplines, including GPs from all 3 CCGs in the county.

The reconfiguration plans are designed to provide safe and sustainable services for the whole of Worcestershire’s population in coming years. We have good facilities in the county of Worcestershire, staffed by a dedicated, skilled workforce. The intention is to make the most efficient use of those facilities and staff by streamlining the types of work delivered on each site.

We have heard concern voiced about the capacity of our hospitals to cope with the changes. We share those concerns but would like to reassure the public that there is no intention to implement plans without first creating the necessary facilities in which to deliver services. Developing the physical capacity and workforce is the next stage of the reconfiguration process. It is a reality that any financial support to develop additional capacity will only come once plans to reconfigure services have been agreed. We are frustrated that the initial stages of the reconfiguration planning has taken so long as it has meant we have been unable to begin to address the capacity constraints that we know exist at present.

Whilst reports in the media have inevitably focussed on proposed changes to services at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch it is important to note that changes to other clinical services in the county have also been proposed. These include transfer of additional planned, elective work to the Alexandra Hospital to balance the shift of some of the acute and emergency work off the site. That will help with capacity issues, as routine elective work will move off the Worcestershire Royal Hospital site. As an example of this, some movement of routine surgical activity has already taken place with installation of the new modular operating theatre at the Alexandra Hospital.

We want to reassure the public that although current services are fragile they are safe today. The only way to maintain their safety is to move forward to public consultation without further unnecessary delay.

With kind regards,

Dr Julian Berlet
Consultant Anaesthetist and Divisional Medical Director of TACO Division
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Dr Chris Catchpole
Consultant Microbiologist and Divisional Medical Director
Clinical Support Division
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Mari Gay
Director of Quality and Executive Nurse
NHS South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group

Dr George Henry
GP and Lead for Quality
NHS South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group

Mr Graham James
Consultant Surgeon and Divisional Medical Director
Surgery Division
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Dr Anthony Kelly
GP and Chair
NHS South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group

Dr Simon Rumley
GP and Chair and Clinical Lead
NHS Wyre Forest Clinical Commissioning Group

Dr Tony Scriven
Consultant Cardiologist and Divisional Medical Director
Medicine Division
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Dr Andrew Short
Consultant Paediatrician and Divisional Medical Director
Women and Children’s Division
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Mr Martin Wadley
Consultant Surgeon and Chair of the Medical Staff Committee
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

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