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Shropshire hospitals bosses must explain A&E risk, says council leader

By Dominic Robertson | Shrewsbury | Health | Published:

Shropshire's main hospitals trust must explain the risks of operating without a key consultant, insists a council leader.

Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies said Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust (SaTH) had not explained how it will staff emergency departments at Princess Royal Hospital Telford and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital after failing to recruit a replacement consultant.

He said: "They have consistently said the Future Fit consultation had to start because delays were causing people to resign and it would lead to an overnight closure. But, all that has been shown to be untrue and I thin they need to come clean and explain the previous statements and how they fit in with the world we are living in."

He added: "If they have got one less consultant what are the clinical risks to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal hospital based on?

"Everyone who goes there literally says the trolleys are lined in the corridor. We now have this cold weather, what effect will the loss of the consultant have?

"They were the worst performing trust on A&E before, how will this improve that?"

Last month it was revealed that the trust was preparing for the possibility of closing the A&E overnight because of the resignation of a consultant.

Telford & Wrekin Council said it had seen a letter from NHS Improvement, which warned that unless a new locum consultant was recruited by yesterday – who is part of the on call rota and agrees to an enforceable six week notice period – it would likely result in the overnight closure of PRH due to safety concerns.

However, yesterday, Sath chief executive Simon Wright said there are currently no plans for an overnight closure at the hospital.

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He said discussions are ongoing with NHS Improvement and Health Education England to avoid the prospect of a closure becoming a reality.

Speaking in February when the situation was revealed Neil Nisbet, deputy chief executive of Sath, said: “One of our emergency department consultants recently announced his intention to leave the trust and we are now actively trying to recruit to this position.

"As we have previously discussed, however, it is vital that contingencies are put in place should the continued safe, effective and dignified running of these services become unsustainable and therefore we are reviewing our emergency department business continuity plan."

Last night Telford & Wrekin Council was set to back a motion asking for reassurances over the prospect of an overnight closure.

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A second motion was also set to be considered, calling for the Future Fit consultation to include a third option of a new emergency centre built between Telford and Shrewsbury.

The developments come as the progress on consultation over the Future Fit hospital reorganisation plans has stalled while health chiefs await news on funding for the proposals – which needs to be in place before NHS England will allow a consultation to start.

Local health bosses had initially planned to start the consultation in December.

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