TALKS have been taking place that it is hoped will lead to the reopening of the operating theatre at Tenbury Hospital.

A group from the hospital League of Friends were meeting with health chiefs this week to discuss plans for the future.

“We would very much like to see the reopening of the operating theatre,” said the Rev Stephen Thomas, chair of the hospital League of Friends.

The theatre at the hospital was closed in May 2012 because of concerns about safety.

Surgical activity was suspended following a number of concerns.

These included the ability to continue to safely staff the operating theatre facility, insufficient medical cover for patients on site following procedures, and the on-going investment required to maintain an appropriate standard of equipment.

The low level of surgical activity at the hospital had led to some concern about the efficiency of the service going forward.

Concerns were raised by clinicians from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, who provide the service at the hospital and who are keen to ensure that quality and safety of care provided to patients is consistent across the county.

But it was stressed that there was never any suggestion that any previous patients have been in any way put at risk.

All appointments were transferred to Kidderminster Hospital and the Acute Trust.

It was said at the time that operations would start again when the issues had been resolved but so far this has not happened.

But now Stephen Thomas believes that there is an opportunity for the question of the re-opening of the operating theatre to be looked at again now that the hospital is under the control of a different NHS Trust.

This is one of the issues on the agenda for the League of Friends in the discussions that they are having with NHS bosses.

Minor surgery that had taken place in Tenbury was largely transferred to Kidderminster Hospital.

There had also been concerns about the long term future of Tenbury Hospital, along with other community hospitals, when the NHS undertook a review but it now appears to be secure.

The issue now becomes even more important because of the threat to the bus service that links the town with Kidderminster as a result of Worcestershire County Council looking to make savings.

Friends of the Hospital are also preparing plans for their future fund raising and want to understand what the priorities for the community hospital will be going forward.

Over the past decade local volunteers have raised more than £500,000 and made possible a major refurbishment that enabled the hospital in Burford to meet modern standards.

In the past 12 months they have spent £21,000 on the hospital including providing a range of equipment include new couches for day patients and specialist machines for the physiotherapy department.

“It has been quieter over the past couple of years since the refurbishment but we are still very active,” said Rev Thomas.