17,000 back fight to keep Telford A&E open overnight
More than 17,000 people have now signed a petition asking the government to put a stop to plans to close Telford's A&E overnight.
The online petition - at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/229602 - was set up after the board of Shrewsbury & Telford Hospitals NHS Trust voted to press ahead with the overnight closure of the department at Princess Royal Hospital.
The decision has sparked major concern from the town's politicians, a summit with hospital management, and a pledge to ask the government to intervene by providing more middle grade doctors for the hospital.
Amid a host of criticism there have been suggestions that the trust should be placed into special measures, and new management brought in.
However, 37 of the trust's consultants have signed a letter warning that any major change to the leadership of the hospitals would be an "unnecessary distraction".
In an open letter they argue that the Future Fit plan for the hospitals has already helped recruit more consultants, and that it needs to be carried out.
Future Fit would see one of either Princess Royal Hospital Telford, or Royal Shrewsbury Hospital become the county's only A&E department.
The site which houses the A&E would also take on women and children's services, which are currently based at PRH, and the hospital without the A&E would become the county's centre for planned care. A decision is expected next year.
The letter, which also thanked the public for their support, stated: "We now have a clear vision for the future of our hospitals. This year, we have appointed many new consultants to the trust who want to make their home here and help us realise this vision.
"We will continue to work and support our managers and members of the board to bring this to fruition. Safe and effective care in Telford, Wrekin, Mid Wales and Shropshire requires stable leadership; any major change to the leadership team would be a misguided and unnecessary distraction at this key time."
The letter came after Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard called for the trust to be placed in special measures.
He said the call was a result of a series of “ongoing underperformance issues and grave concerns about the Future Fit programme”.
He said: “I am calling for an improvement director from the regional NHS to be put in place to help support the trust and put things right that are currently wrong."