Council pledge in battle to keep Shrewsbury hospital's A&E unit
Councillors in Shrewsbury issued a rallying call as they officially agreed to oppose any plans to close the town's hospital accident and emergency unit.
Councillors said that it was important to be clinical in the decision over whether Shrewsbury or Telford's unit is kept on, and will meet representatives of other councils, clinical commissioning groups and members of the public to help inform their campaign.
There was a round of applause from a room packed with members of the public as the council voted unanimously to adopt a statement opposing the closure during a meeting this week.
It comes as the Future Fit review of health services in Shropshire is expected to lead to the closure of either the A&E unit at the RSH or at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital.
Councillor Alan Mosley, leader of Shrewsbury Town Council and Labour party group leader, said both should stay open, adding: "I believe that the case for two fully fitted A&Es has been made and there's been very convincing evidence that that should be the case.
"The arguments are well-founded for the retention of both A&Es. However, there's been something of a funding crisis and given the meetings we've had it seems inevitable that only one fully equipped A&E will come out of the melee that is the decision-making process. If there is only to be one, I don't think it can be denied that that one should be in Shrewsbury.
"We in Shrewsbury Town Council would be failing in our responsibility if we were not to come to our conclusion that that should be the case and that we should put our money where our mouth is to get some sort of campaign that should involve other parish councils and seek the maximise the impact of that view."
Councillor Peter Nutting, who represents the Copthorne ward, said: "Shrewsbury Town Council has got to be a major player in this for the people in Shrewsbury.
"We need to forget politics. What we need to be doing is fighting for more funding to help Shropshire generally."
Councillor Miles Kenny, who represents the Underdale ward, said: "This is a very serious issue. It's not just the future of the hospital – it's the future of the town as well.
"It's really important to make the point about distance, because the trip to Telford is that little bit further for a lot of people, which can make all the difference.
"Besides which, all of those roads lead to Shrewsbury, not Telford. That's a key thing, especially when you take in the geography of the county, all the hills – those roads all lead here."