'Don't be afraid of special measures': Shropshire hospital chiefs told
The trust running Shropshire's main hospitals should not be frightened to be put into special measures if the step needs to be taken, health commissioners have said.
Dr Julian Povey, chair of Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), says bosses at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) should be given a chance to make improvements but, if necessary, going into special measures could bring the trust extra support.
He said ensuring safe services for patients was the priority.
In recent weeks the Care Quality Commission has taken urgent action against the trust following safety concerns, and the trust board voted in favour of a night-time closure of A&E at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford due to staffing issues.
Telford's MP Lucy Allan and Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard have both called for SaTH to be put into special measures.
If this happens, it would see an NHS improvement director appointed to oversee the running of PRH and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
The trust would also be required to publish an improvement plan and it could see the appointment of one or more 'partner organisations' to provide extra support.
Dr Povey said: "Our responsibility is to commission a safe service. We work very closely with SaTH constantly around safety and the services provided."
He said when Shropshire CCG was placed in special measures in 2015 it helped the group move forward.
Dr Povey said: "We had extra support and encouragement.
"For SaTH, I wouldn't be frightened to be in special measures.
"I think the management team should first be given the chance to improve things."
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Calls have been made for a Government-backed rescue plan following the decision to close A&E at PRH for at least six months from November.
Gaps in consultants, middle grade doctors and nurses have been blamed for the measure.
Yesterday, Telford's MP said she was asking Health Education England and NHS Improvement to allocate middle grade doctors to SaTH or secure them from neighbouring trusts.
It comes after Ms Allan organised a summit in Ketley on Thursday to allow councillors to pass on their concerns to hospital bosses and find a way forward.
Telford & Wrekin Council has arranged its own public meeting on October 29 to discuss the overnight closure of Telford's A&E.
It will take place at Oakengates Theatre at 6pm.
Hospital chiefs say they have tried talking to NHS bosses and neighbouring trusts in an attempt to secure more staff.
Glyn Davies, MP for Montgomeryshire, has also defended the trust's chief executive, Simon Wright, saying he has been getting some "unfair criticism".
He added: "He has been one of the best people I have dealt with there in many years, he has been open and transparent and good to work with.
"I think a lot of the comments about him have been misplaced.
"There is not many hospital trusts or chief executives that have been so open about what has happened.
"It is clear there have been problems there in the past, but he has been open about it and that is positive."