By Rob George 22/06 Updated: 22/06 10:54
THE RADICAL overhaul of healthcare across the county will impact every family in Droitwich, according to the chairman of an independent health watchdog.
Peter Pinfield told The Standard the proposed changes, which could lead to the county losing one of its accident and emergency departments and see other services being severely downgraded, were the ‘biggest shake-up for 50 years’.
Currently there are no specific details about which sites services would be located on but the A&E service, maternity, women’s and children’s services could be centralised in Worcester or Redditch.
Mr Pinfield, the soon-to-be chairman of Worcestershire Healthwatch - a body which represents patients’ interests across the county - called on health chiefs to listen to the views of residents who will be affected by the proposed reforms.
He said: “One of my responsibilities is to ensure the public gets access to all the facts and information available and their views and concerns are listened to by the decision makers.
“Those very real public concerns can and should influence the final decisions made about our NHS.”
Mr Pinfield, who also represents Droitwich on the town council and on Wychavon District Council, slammed the pace and the
controversial changes now being brought about by the new Health and Social Care Act.
He said: “There has to be a recognition by the lead clinicians and ultimately the Government that the people of Worcestershire and particularly those in Redditch and Kidderminster will not support any changes that worsen or reduce their current levels
“The public are not stupid and fully realise the financial situation we are in and the impact of us all living longer and the strain
that will and does have on the NHS.
“But I have always found in my experience of public life here in Worcestershire that change can be accepted but only if you listen, explain and take your communities with you,” he added.
Mr Pinfield said the upcoming public meetings and formal consultation was an opportunity for health chiefs to show they were listening to the public.
“Healthwatch will be ensuing that the encouraging engagement process so far embarked on continues and open and frank exchange of views shapes the final decisions, our lives could depend on it,” he added.
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