A LEADING Worcestershire health boss has said “very significant progress” has been made on plans to reshape hospital services in the county.

Speaking at a meeting of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust’s governing board today, Wyre Forest Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) chief officer Simon Hairsnape said the long-running project to revamp care at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Kidderminster Hospital and Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital was gathering steam.

“People have been getting on and doing what they need to do,” he said.

“We’re not quite there as of today but we’re very nearly there.

“All of this work comes together in the next few weeks.”

He said it was hoped the plan’s clinical model would be signed off next week before going before an NHS England assurance board at the end of July, where it was hoped it would be given the go-ahead to launch a public consultation.

Earlier this year an independent report into the plans was presented, making a number of recommendations including centralising consultant-led maternity services in Worcester while setting up a midwife-led birth centre in Redditch and taking the most seriously injured or unwell patients to the Royal.

Transport arrangements between the Royal and the north of the county will also be reviewed as part of the plans.

Although progress has been made, Mr Hairsnape said a significant amount of work remained to be done and it was hoped the 12-week consultation would be launched in September in time for the plan to be fully approved in December.

“We expect and hope to be given the go-ahead to go out,” he said.

“There’s lots of water to flow under quite a few bridges yet.

“It’s a tough set of hurdles to jump over.

“We are in uncharted territory here.”

The trust’s deputy chief executive Chris Tidman said: “The amount of time clinicians have spent on this has been huge,” while chairman Harry Turner said he was pleased by the amount of progress that had been made.

“We know it’s been a difficult couple of years but the board is fully committed to supporting the CCGs,” he said. “We are fully behind this because we obviously think it the right thing for patients.”

For the latest on the project visit www.worcsfuturehospitals.co.uk.