Growing number of Worcester residents prefer QE in an emergency - The Worcester Observer

Growing number of Worcester residents prefer QE in an emergency

Worcester Editorial 30th Sep, 2016 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016   0

A GROWING number of Worcester residents are choosing to go to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham for emergency treatment rather than their own Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

The QE, part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), has seen an eight to nine per cent growth in patients from Worcester in its Accident and Emergency department over the past three years.

Worcestershire Royal, which is run by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (WAHT), hasn’t hit its NHS four hour maximum waiting time target for treatment for more than 18 months.

An ambulance service spokesman said most patients are presenting themselves at A&E, which means they are choosing where best to go for treatment.

The figures were released in a letter by top NHS leader Dame Julie Moore, the chief executive of UHB.

The letter warns that the centralisation of emergency surgery at Worcestershire Royal alone rather than also at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch will further increase pressure on UHB’s emergency department.

“The increasing use of Birmingham health services by Worcestershire residents is clearly evident yet it is disappointing that despite a commitment…. that the Trust (WAHT) would be involved in the modelling of patient flows this has not occurred,” Dame Julie Moore said.

Dame Julie added the knock-on effect was longer waiting times for patients in Birmingham, including cancer patients, a specialist treatment that only UHB can provide.

The letter further casts doubt that the reconfiguration of health services in Worcestershire will be a success and the likelihood is the need for change will overtake the exercise.

Chris Tidman chief executive of WAHT said: “I share the justifiable concerns that the acute services review has been so protracted. It has been immensely frustrating for the Trust and its clinicians too but we are now closing in on an outcome.

“With the recent appointment of our new Chair Caragh Merrick, we have publicly committed to launching a new era of public engagement with communities in all parts of our county where we can work with the people of Worcestershire on shaping health services driven by patient needs.

“It is disappointing that this letter was sent and we were not informed of these concerns. We are open to meet with the chair and CEO of UHB to understand their concerns about the potential impact on the QE and to give assurances that our plans seeks to minimise the impact on neighbouring providers.”

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