HOSPITAL bosses say Dudley patients needing out of hours eye care will be treated as usual by medics in neighbouring Birmingham, despite speculation the arrangement was being axed.

Fears were raised that experts at the Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre, based at Birmingham City Hospital, would no longer be ‘on-call’ for patients referred from Dudley’s main hospital - Russells Hall - which runs an eye clinic on weekdays only until 4pm.

Emails, leaked to the News, are believed to have been sent out by managers at the eye centre in Dudley Road, Birmingham, telling relevant staff not to take out of hours calls from Dudley from April 1.

Hospital bosses, however, say the out of hours arrangement between Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust is continuing as usual despite recent discussions about its future.

A spokesman for Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust said: “We have continued to provide the service whilst these discussions have been going on.

“The service has not been interrupted at any point and no patients have been refused treatment.

“Following feedback from clinicians, Dudley Group has asked us to continue to provide the service on an ongoing basis.

“The care provided by BMEC’s consultants receives excellent feedback from patients and we are pleased we can continue to provide the out of hours service to patients at Russell’s Hall.”

Paula Clark, chief executive of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The agreement we have with Birmingham Midland Eye Centre remains in place and any of our patients requiring treatment there will continue to receive it with no interruption.”