Telford A&E crisis: Pledge made to find more doctors and nurses
Health chiefs insist they will "exhaust every conceivable option" to appoint new doctors and stop the overnight closure of one of Telford's A&E department.
Bosses at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) have said they are continuing efforts to recruit the new workers needed to prevent shutting the A&E at Princess Royal Hospital overnight.
The closure, which was approved last month, is scheduled to start from mid-November.
It would leave the county with only one 24-hour A&E at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
Carol McInnes, assistant chief operating officer for unscheduled care at SaTH, said: “Nobody at SaTH wants to go ahead with the overnight closure and we are not just sitting back and letting it happen.
"We will continue to work hard until we have exhausted every conceivable option.
“We are continuing to talk to partners across the health system to see if there is any way of addressing the immediate problem and we are also continuing with recruitment efforts for both doctors and nurses to increase staffing in the medium to long-term.
“Should we be unable to avoid the overnight closure, we are also still looking at every way in which we can keep the impact to our patients to an absolute minimum. This includes looking at what options we can offer for people who need urgent, but not emergency, care, out of hours.”
The trust has said that to keep the department open it needs an "absolute minimum" of seven middle grade doctors – taking staffing levels up from 11 to 18, as well as at least 15 more registered A&E Nurses.
Despite that the trust has said that recruiting the staff would still only solve its problems in the short term.
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Dr Kevin Eardley, medical director for unscheduled care, said: “This is not where we want to be but we have been very clear for some time now about the fragility of the EDs at RSH and PRH, and that we cannot continue to operate both sites overnight in the long-term with staffing levels as they are.
“We don’t have enough doctors and nurses to safely staff both of our A&Es 24-hours-a day, seven-days-a-week and, as a result, we are relying on the goodwill of our medical and nursing staff to keep those services running. This has put them under enormous pressure, and is no longer sustainable.
“I want to reassure everyone that our business continuity plans have been under constant review, and robustly tested, to ensure that there will be as little impact on patients as possible."