Shropshire Star

Watch: MP raises A&E crisis with Prime Minister - more than 10,000 pensioners waited more than 24 hours last year

The shocking state of the county's A&E waiting times have been raised with the Prime Minister.

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The situation has seen 14,524 people waiting for more than 24 hours at A&Es in Telford and Shrewsbury in 2023 – compared to just 597 in 2019.

Those figures, which came from a Liberal Democrat Freedom of Information request, also showed that in 2023 more than 10,000 of those waiting over 24 hours were pensioners.

The severity of the situation is illustrated by the fact that in 2019 only 290 pensioners waited more than 24 hours at A&E.

North Shropshire's Liberal Democrat MP, Helen Morgan, raised the issue with Rishi Sunak at Prime Minister's Question Time earlier today.

Mrs Morgan said that beneath the statistics lie the reality of hundreds, if not thousands, of terrible personal experiences and stories.

She said some of the people who have contacted her office about the situation have included a woman who was left for two days on a hospital trolley awaiting A&E transfer, and the ex-Mayor of Wem who waited 25 hours from phoning 999.

North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan quizzed the Prime Minister over the county's shocking A&E waits.

She added that more than 2,000 patients faced waits of 12 or more hours in February alone last year.

Addressing the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, Mrs Morgan said: "Last year 10,000 people aged 65 and over waited 24 hours or more in A&Es in Shropshire. Ten thousand.

"That’s 10,000 elderly people waiting in plastic chairs, in corridors, or on trolleys.

"The Prime Minister says he has a plan.

"But what people in North Shropshire want to know, is how long are they going to have to wait for him to start fixing our NHS?"

Replying Mr Sunak said: "With the record funding we are putting into the NHS, our urgent and emergency care plan is delivering more ambulances, more beds, but also faster discharge through our hospitals to free the flow.

The Prime Minister responds to the question.

"That plan is working. Of course there is more to do but this winter we saw ambulance and A&E waiting times improve from the year before for the first time in many years, and if we stick to the plan we will continue to deliver improvements for her constituents and everyone else.”

Speaking following the exchange, Mrs Morgan said: "The NHS in Shropshire is at breaking point, and these horrifying figures are further proof that the Government is still not taking it seriously.

"There has a been 3,000 per cent increase in pensioners having to wait over 24 hours at A&E in just five years. The depths of the crisis in our health service continue to plunge to new lows, yet the Government seems unwilling to take action.

"If Rishi Sunak can’t – or won’t – take the action Shropshire needs, we need a new Government. Excuses just won’t do when thousands of my constituents are being left on trolleys and in waiting rooms for hours and days at a time."

Sara Biffen, Acting Chief Operating Officer at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, which looks after A&Es in Ms Morgan's constituency, said: “We are making steady improvements and continuing to invest in new services to improve care. We continue to see extreme demand for all services, including hospital and community care, with more patients with complex needs. Working with partners we are doing everything possible to release much-needed hospital beds.

“We are very sorry that our patients are experiencing long waiting times to be admitted to a ward. Our staff are doing all they can to support patients’ care, dignity and make them as comfortable as possible in this difficult environment.”

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