Telford A&E night closure: Fears over impact on Midlands hospitals

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News that the A&E department at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford is to close overnight from October has been met with shock by Shropshire residents.

Many took to social media to express disgust and incredulity that Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trusts board voted unanimously in favour of the night-time closure of A&E at Princess Royal Hospital during their meeting on Thursday.

The overnight closure, due to be brought in during November, will mean the emergency department will close between 8pm and 8am.

Speaking out on the Shropshire Stars website and Facebook page many said the decision was disgraceful.

“Without PRH A&E on my doorstep, I would have died eight years ago. If Im taken ill again late at night like I was then, looks like I wont be surviving the journey to another hospital. Paramedics had to work on me in the ambulance and that was only a two minute drive up the road.”

Many said the move would put a burden on the ambulance service as people unable to get themselves to A&E in Shrewsbury would simply ring 999.

“We are building more houses than anywhere in the UK yet taking away overnight security of an A&E department putting peoples lives at risk”.

Catherine Anne Howarth said: “This is such a bad move especially for people who live in Bridgnorth area it will take twice as long to get to Shrewsbury and the road isnt a nice drive either.”

Some feared the decision would cost lives but Laura Barton, who works at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital defended the decision. She said: “How can people just say the distance will cost lives. It will be lack of staff that will cost lives. The A&E consultants in PRH will be moved to Shrewsbury to enable patients to be seen quicker and in a less pressured environment which will allow for better care and less mistakes to be made.

“Shropshire and Telford Hospitals trust has to be accessible to all the countys patients not just Telford. Nobody wants to work in A&E in any of these sites at the moment because each site is understaffed and unsafe. Closing one of the A&E sites has to happen to provide the most efficient and quality care.”

Nicky Purcell said: “I am not surprised about staff shortages – who would want to come and work here with all the negative publicity our hospitals have been having over the past year or two. We have had nothing but wonderful, caring treatment at the RSH. Its awful what is happening but if there arent the staff to treat people what exactly does everyone expect to happen.”

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Politicians in Wolverhampton and Staffordshire have expressed concern over what the overnight A&E closure in Telford will mean for neighbouring hospitals.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trusts board voted unanimously in favour of the night-time closure of A&E at Princess Royal Hospital during their meeting on Thursday.

The overnight closure will mean the emergency department will close between 8pm and 8am and is due to be brought in during November.

Fears have been voiced that it risks putting extra pressure on hospitals in Dudley, Wolverhampton, Stafford and Stoke.

Councillor Roger Lawrence, leader of Wolverhampton City Council, said: I am seriously concerned that the impact of this proposal has not been thought through.

“A&E at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton is already under pressure as a result of changes at Stafford.

David Loughton, chief executive of The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said the trust will work with SaTH, West Midlands Ambulance Service and surrounding organisations on a comprehensive plan before an ambulance divert is implemented.

Stoke MPs Gareth Snell and Ruth Smeeth added: We have a wonderful hospital in Stoke-on-Trent but it sits in a fragile and challenging local health system.

“Everyone has worked incredibly hard to ensure that our hospital is better prepared for this years challenges and any unexpected and unplanned surge in demand from patients who should be able to access Telford A&E puts all that work, potentially, in jeopardy.

We believe every town should have access to the health and care services it needs and Telford should be no different.”

SaTH blamed staff shortages for the decision, with major gaps in consultants and middle-grade doctors.

It is expected that about 16 ambulances a night will be diverted to nearby hospitals, which will involve some patients travelling out of the county.

SaTH, which runs PRH and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, said the recommendation to close Telford had been made considering the numbers of patients attending both sites overnight, as well as the mix and dependencies of other patient services.

Dr Kevin Eardley, care group medical director for unscheduled care at SaTH, said: “We have, and continue to, work closely with our health partners including our commissioners, ambulance services and neighbouring trusts, on this.

He said services in the emergency departments were fragile and the trust could not continue to operate both sites overnight in the long-term with staffing levels as they are.

Wolverhampton at web:


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