HOSPITAL bosses will consider introducing a new midwife-led birth centre in north Worcestershire after a controversial downgrading of the Alexandra Hospital's services is complete.

The governing bodies of Worcestershire's three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) rubber stamped plans to permanently move the county's births to Worcestershire Royal at a crunch meeting in Bromsgrove District Council's offices yesterday morning (July 12).

Redditch Advertiser:

Inpatients children's services are also being moved to Worcestershire Royal, while all emergency surgery will take place at Worcester City hospital.

Most planned orthopaedic surgery, planned breast surgery and some planned gynaecology surgery will move from Worcester to Redditch.

More ambulatory care - outpatient diagnosis, observation, consultation, treatment, intervention and rehabilitation - will also move from Worcester to Redditch.

All CCG representatives voted to approve the proposal, despite Bromsgrove GP Jonathan Leach affirming that most of his patients were happy with the current system.

Dr Leach, who works at Davenal House Surgery in Birmingham Road, said: "I talk to patients at my practice and they almost always say how well the care is, and that’s in the current system.

"The model that we have now is very similar to the one we came up with six years ago."

Simon Trickett, chief officer of NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove admitted the new model was not "universally popular", but several board members agreed the model would lead to a better standard of care.

They added it would now bring stability which, in turn, will improve recruitment and retention of staff, which has been an issue, due to 'uncertainty' caused by temporary hospital service changes.

NHS bosses maintain that 95 per cent of patients would continue to receive their care in the same hospital as before, with 80 per cent of children who would normally go to Redditch continuing to do so.

The model still requires £29 million of government funding to implement, but Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust claims it will save £4.4million a year once implemented.

Governing bodies also pledged review the county's maternity capacity by the end of 2020, specifically the potential of introducing a stand-alone midwife-led birth centre in the north of the county, likely Redditch.

Mr Trickett told the Advertiser after the meeting that this had been explored previously, but that 'all evidence found that we can't make this happen at the moment' due to a lack of demand and staffing shortages.

Redditch health campaigner Neil Stote said: "This whole process had just been a lesson in how to disengage with the public.

"The decision to move services from the Alex remains the single biggest failure in the town’s history."