Five A&E Consultants Walk Out At West Midlands Hospitals

16 February 2015, 08:21 | Updated: 16 February 2015, 08:26

A campaign group say they have new fears about Worcestershire hospitals after five consultants all left at once.

Four work in the A and E department at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch and the other at the Worcestershire Royal

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust which runs them have been reviewing services there for the last three years now.

Neal Stote is Chair of the Save The Alex group and told Heart getting more consultants to join will be very tough.

He said: "The decision by the five Emergency Department consultants to quit on one day is unprecedented and the ultimate vote of no confidence in the management.

"Staff are voting with their feet. The future of our A&E now hangs in the balance.

Neal Stote added that he thinks the government needs to act.

"The health minister has consistently said this is a local decision but the situation is now so serious the Government cannot wash their hands of this any longer.

"The Trust is failing financially, it's failing its staff and it's time for a Trust with a proven track record to take over and we believe that Trust is University Hospitals Birmingham.

"The Government needs to step in and make that happen and fast."

Given the national shortage of Emergency Department consultants and the problems the Trust has I fail to see how they will be able to replace these members of staff. It is situation entirely of their own making.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust say they recognise there's been frustration in delays in making decisions about the future of the hospital, but services won't be affected.

In a statement they said: "We would wish to stress that services for patients will continue to be provided as normal and an urgent transition plan will be put in place in conjunction with the full range of stakeholders to ensure that patients can continue to receive safe and high quality urgent care going forward."

"The future of acute hospital services in Worcestershire has been under review for more than three years. The commissioner-led review aims to ensure services across Worcestershire's three acute hospital sites remain sustainable in the light of national shortages of medical staff in a number of key clinical specialties - A and E being one.

"Over this period, there has been significant engagement of all clinical staff - both hospital consultants and GPs. Whilst there will always be differences of clinical opinion, all clinicians have had an opportunity to have their say and the final proposed model was endorsed by an Independent Clinical Review Panel in early 2014, subject to some further modifications.

"The ongoing delays in moving forward have been a source of frustration for all parties and there was a recognised risk that staff could leave for other posts in the event of continued uncertainty. The Trust will now focus on its recruitment plans to replace the departing staff once they have served their notice.

"In the meantime, services will continue as normal whilst plans are put in place to manage a safe transition.

The hospital also told Heart that all five consultants have been offered other jobs, four at Warwick Hospital.