THE organisation running the three acute hospitals in Worcestershire has set out its operating plans over the next two years.

Members of the governing board of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs Worcestershire Royal Hospital as well as Kidderminster Hospital and Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital – discussed its two-year business plan at a meeting n Wednesday, March 26.

The organisation is currently facing significant financial pressures and is expecting to be £12 million in deficit by the end of this financial year

Director of strategic development Chris Fearns said the draft plan for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 included plans for greater integration with other medical organisations in Worcestershire as part of the county-wide Well Connected programme.

“We are operating in unprecedented times in terms of pressures on the NHS,” she said. “This is the backdrop to how we have arrived at the plan.

“We’ve got a big job to do here.

“We are where we are and what we’ve got to do is make sure we can deliver staff levels and operating capacity.”

The board also heard the plan – which must be finalised by Friday, April 4 – had not been fully completed as a number of contacts involving other organisations had not been fully agreed.

Non-executive director Andrew Sleigh said whether or not these contracts were resolved would have a significant impact on the final shape of the plan.

“In order for the NHS health economy to deliver high quality it’s got to get ahead of the game,” he said.

“My concern is I don’t see where that radical change is coming from.

“How can we help push forward what his to be a fundamental change?”

But deputy chief executive Chris Tidman said the plans may take a significant amount of time to be effectively implemented.

“There is a health and social care deficit but that’s not going to be turned around in 12 months,” he said.

“These things in my experience take two to three years as well as some investment.”

The plans were presented at a time of significant change for the trust, with an independent review currently reviewing the way acute hospital services in the county are organised.

In January the panel presented its initial recommendations, suggesting the most serious cases should be directed to Worcester Royal Hospital and a number of other changes. Although it had been proposed the A&E department at the Alexandra Hospital could be closed to save costs, the review panel did not recommend this should go forward.

The plans are currently being developed further and a public consultation is expected to be launched late in the summer.