Telford's reaction to Future Fit: Anger, confusion and concern at impact of changes

Angry, confused and scared – that was the mood of people in Southwater Square in Telford yesterday following the Future Fit announcement.

A&E saved my life – Richard Crossman with dog Bonnie
A&E saved my life – Richard Crossman with dog Bonnie

Residents were upset that their vital health services are going to be downgraded, but also at the lack of information about what might actually be offered by the vaguely titled A&E Local, and when the changes may go into effect.

Many had stories about life and death trips under blue lights, and the terrifying prospect of what might have become of them if they were taken further than Telford.

Among them was Richard Crosswell, 66, from Buildwas, who said he may not be here today without the Princess Royal A&E.

"I think this is shocking," he said. "Telford is a growing town, it's almost ready for city status, but we're not going to have a proper A&E.

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"I've lived in Telford for 15 years, and I've used the hospital several times. I had a suspected heart attack. If I had to go all the way to Shrewsbury I could have been dead by the time I got there.

"We've got three teenagers, and they're always there with sports injuries. My son had to go to hospital with a neck injury. If he'd gone to Shrewsbury, it could have caused severe damage to him.

"They are going to have to reverse this decision. You can't have a city without a hospital."

Stewart Hale, 62, from Dawley, said the decision had been brought about by mismanagement.

The tool technician said: "So much money is wasted by Government. I don't believe we should be giving away as much foreign aid as we do – we're not in a position to do so.

"According to what people say, we're the fifth richest country in the world, and yet we have people existing on food banks. Now we're being told that our health care service, that we all pay for in taxes, is being scaled down. This is another example of government wasting money, which they seem to be very efficient at."

A former Tory campaigner said she would no longer be backing the Conservatives.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said new mothers would be particularly hit by the move.

"I went out in all weathers to campaign for them – knocking on doors, getting abuse," she said. "I can't believe this. What has happened to the compassionate Conservatives?

"I can understand the A&E, because of staffing, but to close the Mother and Children's Unit I cannot bear. Anybody with any brains should see Telford has got a rapidly growing population, and will need somewhere for people to give birth. Shrewsbury is where the old folks live. How many people do you know in their 50s that are giving birth?"

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