A PROJECT revamping hospital care in Worcestershire may not be finalised until the start of next year, it has been revealed.
Despite saying “good progress” had been made on the scheme, Simon Hairsnape from Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group has revealed it looks unlikely that a public consultation into the plans would be complete until January 2015.
The news was announced at a meeting of Worcestershire’s Health and Well-being Board last week.
Mr Hairsnape said the group was originally due to make a final decision on the plans at the end of this year, but this now looked increasingly unlikely.
He said the plans were being submitted to NHS England this week and it was hoped they would be given the go-ahead to launch a 12- week consultation in September.
“All being well we would hope to hear back in August,” said Mr Hairsnape.
“It really depends how quickly NHS England come back to us. We’ve got no room to slip with Christmas.
“I suspect it’s probably not going to be done until January.”
In January this year an independent review into the plans – part of an effort to save £50 million from the county’s NHS budget – was presented, recommending the most serious emergencies should be taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
The report also recommended centralising consultant- led maternity services and those for children who need to stay in hospital overnight at the royal.
Setting up a stand-alone midwife-led birth centre in Redditch and reviewing transport links between the hospitals has been advised as well.
Mr Hairsnape said the plans had received a “warm” response from residents and politicians in the county and he was keen the forthcoming consultation was as wide reaching as possible.
“This is a very fast-moving issue,” he said. “We’ve been working on this for two years now and it’s been a rollercoaster ride.
“The critical work of the last few months has been about ensuring we have a detailed plan for the clinical model and ensuring ourselves and the public that the finances stack up.”
The board’s chairman, Councillor Marcus Hart, said he was keen for the consultation to garner as many opinions as possible from the public.
“Fundamental to me as a politician is a consultation has to be genuinely meaningful,” he said.
“There has to be a range of events people can go out to including during the evening.
People need to have the chance to have their say day or night, whether that’s electronically, face-to-face or what have you.”
For more details on the project and what it means for services in Redditch and Bromsgrove, visit southworcsccg.nhs.uk/home.