No consultants in Princess Royal Hospital at weekends
There are no consultants working in Telford's A&E department at weekends, it has been revealed.
Staffing levels are so low in the emergency departments in Shropshire that consultants are now only on call at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital on a Saturday and Sunday.
Consultants are still present at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital during the weekend and are at both hospitals during the week.
But at the weekends, consultant care in Telford's emergency department is provided solely over the phone.
The situation was revealed by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust's chief operating officer Debbie Kadum at a meeting of Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group yesterday.
Mrs Kadum was giving a report to members on problems the trust has faced meeting A&E four-hour waiting time targets and in meeting referral to treatment targets for patients. But she insisted: "There is consultant cover seven days a week."
In September it was revealed that the trust had lost another A&E consultant, now running the two departments in Telford and Shrewsbury with just four.
At the time David Sandbach, the former chief executive of PRH, had called on members of the trust board to close one of its sites – either at PRH or RSH – saying it was unsafe for patients to run two A&E departments with the current levels.
It was also revealed earlier this week that staff were delayed for more than 30 minutes on 668 occasions at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford's Princess Royal and for more than one hour on 159 occasions in November.
Mrs Kadum said that despite preparations being made for winter pressures at the hospitals, including freeing up more beds, the period had been busier than expected, causing some problems.
During the verbal report, Mrs Kadum said that in a bid to manage issues in the hospitals, each member of senior staff at the trust had been allocated their own ward to visit to monitor and address issues faced by the staff working on them.
She said she had been allocated ward four at PRH and that this was staffed 50 per cent by agency staff due to ongoing staffing problems.
Mrs Kadum also said that steps were in place to address the problems faced by the hospitals during the busy winter period.