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Worcestershire’s Conservative candidates have met county hospital chiefs to discuss plans to change the way in which community health services are delivered in the county.
At the meeting held on Friday at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, managers explained why they felt the best interests of patients and staff would be served by merging the community hospitals and a range of other services into the Acute Hospital Trust.

The Conservative candidates who attended the meeting - Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire), Sajid Javid (Bromsgrove), Peter Luff MP (Mid Worcestershire), Karen Lumley (Redditch) and Robin Walker (Worcester) – expressed the concerns felt by local communities and staff about the proposed changes.

In a joint statement after the meeting, together with Mark Garnier (Wyre Forest), who had been briefed previously, the six candidates said,

“The NHS has been reorganised too often in recent years. Any further reorganisation of the local NHS will inevitably distract managers and clinical staff from their real priority – the wellbeing of the patients they serve. At a time when NHS budgets are under great pressure, this is the height of irresponsibility. It also risks undermining the motivation of all the staff affected by the proposed changes.

“We are profoundly concerned about the ridiculously short timescale being imposed on the Worcestershire NHS for such important decisions. Over 2,700 staff are being forced to change their employer and scores of important services, ranging from sexual health to end-of-life care are affected and will be disrupted.

“To be given a few weeks to decide such important issues will inevitably mean that mistakes are made – and the result will either be that patient care suffers or that another reorganisation is needed, causing further disruption. We are also very concerned about the care of patients in the Mental Health Trust if there is a major reorganization involving their services too.

“We therefore call on the government to delay the process it has imposed on Worcestershire and give a full year to allow possible changes to be worked through carefully.

“We are particularly concerned that it is now being suggested that there will be no local consultation on the changes. Peter Luff will therefore be seeking categorical assurances from Health ministers that a full period of consultation will be provided.

“We are not saying that there can be no benefits from changing some of the current arrangements – the Acute Hospital Trust clearly believes there can be. But we cannot endorse any new pattern of service delivery that is put forward by the local primary care trust and agreed by the strategic health authority in such a great hurry.

“The NHS and its staff are too important to be treated with such contempt by the government.”


Photograph shows Sajid Javid, Karen Lumley, Robin Walker and Peter Luff outside Worcestershire Royal Hospital before the meeting

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