Redditch Alexandra Hospital campaigners fight A&E proposals

Save the Alex protesters outside Redditch Town Hall Dozens of people protested against the plans outside Redditch Town Hall in July

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More than 100 people have attended a public meeting against the possible closure of the accident and emergency (A&E) unit at a Redditch hospital.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust announced proposals to downgrade the unit at Alexandra Hospital in June, as part of a shake of NHS services.

The trust said it needed to save £50m by 2015 and the closure was just one of six options being considered.

More than 52,000 people have signed a petition against the loss of A&E.

Conservative MP for Bromsgrove Sajid Javid said the number of signatures reflected the strength of public opinion in the area.

He added that he was "uncertain the closure is in the interests of local people".

'Risk lives'

Mr Javid said: "The trust has a budget of almost £900m a year, roughly speaking, so there are plenty of options it has to look at ways to make efficiencies."

The public meeting was organised by Save The Alex campaign group after one organised by the hospitals trust attracted just 37 people.

In a letter to campaigners, Dr Dianne Wilkins at the Studley Health Centre said "closing services will risk lives".

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said creating a 24-hour consultant-led unit, possibly in Worcester, would be safer.

The trust said the plans were at a very early stage and that a full consultation would be held once detailed plans were put together.

It said a final decision was expected to be made in December.

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