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Future Fit: Hospital staff back Shropshire health chiefs’ ruling

By Dominic Robertson | Shrewsbury | Health | Published:

Doctors and staff from Shropshire’s major hospitals have given their backing to health chiefs’ decision to press ahead with Future Fit.

In a series of statements released by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), staff from Princess Royal Hospital and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital have said the changes will result in better services.

The decision to approve Future Fit means that Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will become the county’s only emergency centre. Women and children’s services will also move to the hospital from Telford.

PRH will then take over planned care.

Dr Adrian Marsh, an A&E consultant at the hospitals, said: “It’s important that patients are seen in the right place, by the right person. A specialist site will mean more high quality staff, with patients being seen by the right person much more quickly.”

'Best possible care' – Dr Elin Roddy. 'The right place' – Dr Dodiy Herman.

Dr Elin Roddy consultant respiratory and general physician at SaTH, said debate over Future Fit had hindered the hospitals, and that had the changes been quicker, the trust would not have been rated as “inadequate” by the CQC last year.

She said: “In an emergency, I would be happy to travel a bit further from my home in the east of the county if I was sure that my family and I would get the best possible care when we arrived. I wouldn’t wait as long for an ambulance to arrive if the emergency department that the ambulance was going to was properly staffed and there were fewer ambulance delays.”

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Chris Mowatt, consultant anaesthesia and intensive care foundation year one training programme director at the trust, said the decision is not about protecting one hospital over the other.

He said: “The vision, very clearly, is two thriving hospitals which work for everyone. This will mean changes on both sites but it should not be seen as bolstering one at the expense of the other. Creating improved provision for planned care means that patients are more likely to get the operations they need, on time and organised in a smooth, efficient way. Reconfiguring services to streamline care will help patients know what to expect and create better hospitals as we move towards the future.”

'Inpatient services' – Lisa Gilks. Improved outlook for staff – Vanessa Roberts.

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Lisa Gilks, children’s ward manager, said: “It is absolutely vital that our children’s inpatient services are located alongside our emergency department.

“This is important so that any baby or child who needs emergency care is able to access that care from the right professionals, through a seamless journey from the emergency department to the ward, as quickly as possible.”

Dr Owen David, consultant physician (Stroke and Elderly Care) at SaTH, said: “Havingbeen through this before at my previous trust I have seen how it leads to better staffing levels and better patient care.”

“It allows a hospital trust to maximise its potential; fewer operations are cancelled as a result of emergency pressures, you have safer staffing rotas and you get a much better team spirit.”

'Maximising potential' – Dr Owen David. 'The best skills set' – Helen Jenkinson.

Jill Whitaker, matron for consultant-led maternity services at SaTH, said: “It is essential for the safety of our mothers and babies that maternity services and emergency services remain on the same site, this then provides critical care teams and facilities should they be required by those who use our services.”

Clare Wesley, lead tissue viability nurse specialist at SaTH, said: “

Healthcare has developed significantly since the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital was built and even since the Princess Royal Hospital was created.

“Creating a dedicated emergency centre for people arriving at hospital by ambulance, and a separate planned care site, will mean we can improve outcomes for all the patients we see. This is a very exciting time for SaTH and our patients.”

Dr Dodiy Herman, A&E consultant at the hospitals said: “Clinical evidence tells us that in a life or limb-threatening emergency, taking patients to the right hospital with an emergency centre that has the expertise and equipment for patients to receive the best treatment and care leads to better outcomes.

Vital

“This often means that a patient will travel further and may drive past an emergency department to get them to the right place.”

Helen Jenkinson, deputy director of nursing at SaTH, added: “Paramedics routinely treat patients in an ambulance to make sure they are stable and taken to the right hospital for the most appropriate care and treatment. This often means that a patient will travel further and may drive past an A&E department to get them to the right place. As a nurse I believe that it is vital that we get people to the right place at the right time to ensure they are treated by the people with the best skills set.

“This is why having one emergency centre and one dedicated planned care centre is so important.”

Vanessa Roberts, A&E matron at SaTH, said the trust would be able to attract more people to work at the hospitals.

She said: “We are a very closely-knit team who share each other’s triumph and challenges. There is no doubt that the challenges the wider NHS and that SaTH are facing have been putting increasing demand on our teams. What this decision does is allow us to now move forward with plans that will not only provide the best care for our patients across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales, but that will also improve the outlook for staff.

Pressures

“There is no doubt that the reconfiguration will help us recruit more staff. It will also mean that I and my colleagues will be able to work in purpose-built centres with the latest technology and equipment to help us do our jobs to the best of our ability.”

Kath Preece, head of nursing for scheduled care, said: “At the moment because of emergency pressures, and particularly when we are fully escalated, patients can often have their operations cancelled.

“The planned care site will be a dedicated facility for patients coming in for elective procedures – becoming a centre of excellence – which will help to ensure that planned operations are not cancelled.”

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