Hospital review findings due

Kidderminster Shuttle: Hospital review findings due Hospital review findings due

AN INDEPENDENT panel of health experts from across Britain have confirmed they will issues their report into future hospital services in Worcestershire, including Kidderminster, this month.

Members of the independent clinical review panel - made up of GPs, hospital doctors, nurses and specialist consultants - say good progress has been made after meeting several times last month to collectively scrutinise evidence for the two options presented by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and the county's three clinical commissioning groups.

Option one would see the Worcestershire trust continue to run an amended range of services across its three sites - Kidderminster, Redditch's Alexandra and Worcestershire Royal Hosptial in Worcester. The second option would see an alternative provider - believed to be University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust - manage services at the Alexandra, with the Worcestershire trust continuing to run the Worcester and Kidderminster-based facilities.

Evidence was also heard from the West Midlands Strategic Clinical Networks, West Midlands Ambulance Service and Public Health - part of Worcestershire County Council. The work is now complete and conclusions are in the process of being documented.

The work is part of the long-running review, which started two years ago as the joint services review and since September has been known as the future of acute hosptial services in Worcestershire programme.

A report outlining the review's recommendations will be handed over to the programme's board later this month. It will then be up to the three clinical commissioning groups - including Wyre Forest's - to consult with the public on the report and make decisions on how acute services - such as those at Kidderminster Hospital - will be provided in the future.

Martin Lee, clinical director for NHS England, said: "The review process has been of great value in assessing the clinical quality and safety of the proposed options and also how hospital care for patients can be sustained in the future.

"It has been really helpful to have the views of external experts on the best way of delivering excellent health services to people in Worcestershire."

Mark Wake, clinical director at Worcestershire Acute Hosptals NHS Trust, added: "This is a very important moment for health care in Worcestershire. The proposals for change have now been thoroughly examined by an external panel of experts and we look forward to seeing their recommendations. We all need to work together to achieve high quality and sustainable clinical services."

The report would finally put an end in sight to the long, controversial review which began in January 2012 as the joint services review and was initially hoped to last just a year. The programme's original options put services at Kidderminster Hospital at risk, sparking fears of a further downgrade but it is now possible the site may gain some services.

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