FROM today patients in Kidderminster will be sent to Redditch's Alexandra hospital - not the Worcestershire Royal.

The controversial divert, which will run as a pilot for this week, is an attempt to reduce the overcrowding crisis at the Worcester hospital.

But with a number of services recently transferred from Redditch to Worcester there are fears how the Alex will cope.

Hospital bosses have said "additional resources" will be available at the Alex Hospital but have not gone into detail.

Defunct pressure group Save the Alex raised a number of concerns.

On Facebook, the group said: "Of course services at the Alex have already been stripped so it won’t be any good trying to divert anyone with abdominal or gastric issues, or children, or pregnant women, or suspected stroke victims, or anyone in need of emergency surgery..."

Our NHS Worcestershire said the move will lead to more pressure on the Alex, more pressure on the ambulance service and hospital Staff, and patients.

Politicians have also been quick to slam the divert with Liberal Democrat Councillor for Kidderminster and Worcestershire County Councillor Fran Oborski calling it a "horrendous decision".

Mari Gay, chief operating officer on behalf of the three Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said: “It is quite common place already that the ambulance service and the trust work to vary demand between the two hospital sites, the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester and the Alexander Hospital, Redditch when under pressure.

"This is often done in an unplanned and reactive way.

“We have been asked by NHS Improvement, the Ambulance Trust and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust to support them testing out whether this boundary change will make a difference to the quality of care for patients and have been reassured that additional resources will be available at the Alexandra Hospital.

“It has been agreed that this planned change will run as a pilot for a week starting from Monday June 18 to determine how effective it is and it will be reviewed throughout the week to assess the impact.”

A spokesperson for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We welcome this pilot because we believe it will help us treat patients in need of urgent care more quickly, reduce waiting times and balance demand across our two Emergency Departments more effectively.

“We have been closely involved in discussions around the border change and we think it will benefit patients from across Worcestershire.

"It will also help our ambulance colleagues and other health partners because it should reduce our need to use short notice deflects from one site to another."

"They added: "This is part of our ongoing efforts to reduce waiting times, manage patient flow more effectively and change the way we work to deal with continuing high levels of demand of our urgent care services.”