THE “creaking” hospital system could come under even greater pressure if proposals to send thousands more emergency patients to Worcester become reality, a councillor has warned.

Councillor Joy Squires has grave concerns about Worcestershire Royal Hospital’s ability to cope if it is asked to handle 25 per cent of emergency patients currently treated at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.

That is one of two options being proposed in a cost-cutting review of hospitals in Worcestershire, with a downgrade of emergency services at the Alex and enhanced facilities, including more consultants and specialist care, at Worcestershire Royal. But Coun Squires, who last week told your Worcester News how her 88-year-old neighbour Betty Newberry had to endure a 12 -hour wait for a bed at Worcestershire Royal, believes that may not address the issues that already exist.

“My neighbour was actually seen by two consultants very quickly and I have no concerns about the actual care that she received,” she said. “It was not the consultants that were the problem but simply the lack of nursing staff to cope.”

Coun Squires said that she feels “the whole service is just creaking” and that she would want strong assurances that her concerns would be addressed before any decisions are made.

She has already used her role as chairman of Worcester City Council’s scrutiny committee to seek answers.

“There were a lot of questions about capacity and I am not sure that there were many answers given,” she added.

But the Worcestershire Clinical Senate, comprising healthcare professionals from across the county, has given its backing to the options as a viable way forward “clinically and financially”, stating again that “doing nothing is not an option”.