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New Worcester hospital unit 'is not for centralising casualty services'
5:00pm Tuesday 11th September 2012 in Local
A TOP medical expert has denied that a surgical unit at Worcester Royal Hospital means NHS bosses have already decided to centralise casualty services there.
Rose Johnson, assistant medical director at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said the surgical clinical decision unit (SCDU) at Worcestershire Royal would be a “temporary building” and would be used in part to manage increased numbers of patients over the winter.
The Advertiser reported last week how Rebecca Blake, Labour’s parliamentary spokesman, asked if plans for the unit were connected to the hospital expecting to take more patients if the A&E at the Alexandra Hospital is closed.
This is one of the possible outcomes of a controversial joint services review to claw back £50 million over the next three years.
No shortlist of options has yet been published.
Ms Johnson said: “This is not about the joint services review. It’s about providing the best quality surgical care.
“We would not put in a permanent building until we know the outcome of the joint services review. It is a temporary facility. We’re expecting it to last two years.”
The unit, which could open in December or January, would be connected to A&E by a short link corridor, providing a single base for surgical teams currently spread across the hospital.
Details are still being finalised with Worcester City Council planners but the unit could consist of 18 cubicles, each containing a trolley or reclining chair.
The trust has yet to publish the costs of the scheme.
However, it is believed the unit will be funded internally but is supported in principle by other parts of the NHS, including the emerging clinical commissioning groups and leaders at NHS Worcestershire, both organisations which pay for services.
Ms Johnson added that the move was about improving patient flows through the hospital and followed advice about best practice given by the Royal College of Surgeons concerning ways to deal with surgical emergencies.
She said the new system would allow patients to be seen earlier.