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Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
More beds and surgery at hospital
Dr Richard Taylor
Dr Richard Taylor: "A step in the right direction"
A review into the future of planned surgery at a Worcestershire hospital has recommended that more NHS services should be put in place.

The review of Kidderminster Hospital, carried out by Professor Ara Darzi from Imperial College in London, was commissioned by health secretary Alan Milburn.

In his findings Professor Darzi made a number of recommendations to improve patient services at the hospitals.

These have all been accepted in full by the government.

Increased surgery

Professor Darzi's recommendations include:

  • Up to 20 more beds at a new 14m unit at the hospital.
  • Kidderminster should have three, instead of two, operating theatres to enable more operations to be carried out.
  • The range of surgery provided at Kidderminster should be increased, reducing waiting times and increasing access for local people.
  • Better links between Kidderminster and other local hospitals should be explored - especially transport for relatives and telemedicine links for doctors.

The implementation of Professor Darzi's recommendations will mean that a wider variety of common operations such as hysterectomies, tonsillectomies and gall bladder operations can be carried out.

More procedures on eyes and ear, nose and throat surgery will also go ahead.

'High quality'

Health minister John Hutton said: "This report has confirmed that the concept of providing dedicated services at Kidderminster Hospital is fundamentally sound, but that the range of services and capacity needs to be expanded.

"The job is to get on with fast-tracking the development of services at Kidderminster Hospital and ensuring that the changes taking place across Worcestershire lead to safe, accessible and high quality patient care.

"Under the NHS plan we are committed to providing more operations, more staff and more beds.

"Professor Darzi's findings set out the blueprint for these changes in Kidderminster."

As part of national moves to reduce maximum waiting times for operations to six months by 2004, 6,000 more operations will be carried out in Worcestershire.

Hospital protest

Professor Darzi's recommendations should mean that Kidderminster Hospital will carry out 2,500 of those extra operations.

Kidderminster Hospital has been in the spotlight over controversial plans to downgrade the hospital by taking away its accident and emergency facilities and making it an ambulatory care centre.

Retired NHS consultant Dr Richard Taylor stood as an independent candidate for the Wyre Forest in protest at the downgrading of the hospital.

He caused one of the biggest upsets of the election when he beat David Lock, a junior minister in the Lord Chancellor's department, by a majority of 17,630.

Dr Taylor said he welcomed the recommendations in the review and added that it was a step in the right direction.

He told BBC News Online: "We will not have the facilities to allow hip and knee replacements but if we take low-tech in-patient surgery, that will free up spaces at Worcester and Redditch for more major operations.

"But it depends of this being viewed as a county wide facility and patients and consultants from Worcester and Redditch being prepared to come here."

See also:

08 Jun 01 | Vote2001
Independent doctor trounces Labour
08 Jun 01 | Vote2001
Health worry fuels doctor's win
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