SAVAGE cuts policies are continuing to tear the heart out of the NHS!
The entire consultant team, of four emergency consultants, running Accident and Emergency services at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, Worcestershire has resigned.
A further consultant has resigned from the Worcestershire Royal Hospital. Staff were told the news on Friday afternoon.
Their reasons for leaving were stated to be the ‘continuing uncertainty about the future of Redditch Hospital’, and the fears that it is about to be shut down.
It is predicted that NHS management will use the resignations to shut the hospital down.
A shortage of emergency consultants nationally and difficulties recruiting was one of the reasons the proposed ‘downgrading’ of the hospital’s A&E was originally put forward by the Trust in June 2012.
That would have involved the loss of 25 per cent of the department’s work.
But that option was ruled out by an independent review conducted by Dr Nigel Beasley who said in January last year he did not believe the Worcestershire Royal would be able to cope with an additional 6,000 plus ambulances turning up on its doorstep annually.
He ruled additionally that A&E consultants must remain at the Redditch hospital, albeit as part of an emergency centre providing about 95 per cent of what the current A&E does.
An independent review by West Midlands Clinical Senate of whether or not that model is viable is due to report this month.
If the Trust is unwilling or unable to recruit new A&E consultants or find locums to replace them then Dr Beasley’s plan cannot be implemented.
Neil Stote, chairman of the Save the Alex Campaign, said the news was ‘devastating’ and that local people would have grave concerns about what was happening.
Stote added: ‘There are massive questions for the Trust to answer because the plan has been since January 2014 to retain two A&Es in the county – so how has the Trust allowed five members of staff to leave on the same day?
‘There’s obviously an underlying problem with the capability of the Trust to retain its staff. It’s obvious the staff are voting with their feet and choosing to work elsewhere and the Trust needs to explain why.
‘It shows that something is not right, the failure to retain staff is shocking, something’s not right.
‘The best outcome for the whole county would be for a trust with a proven track record to take over. To have five consultants leave in one day is a damning verdict of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust.’
A Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust spokeswoman said an urgent transition plan will be put in place and emergency care will continue as normal.