Shrewsbury's reaction to Future Fit: Relief, but sympathy too

The people of Shrewsbury have had their say on the news that the town's hospital will house the county's only A&E and women and children's centre.

Realisation – Bookshop worker Nigel Matthews
Realisation – Bookshop worker Nigel Matthews

While some said it was the news they had been waiting on for years, others said it was the second best option and they would have preferred to see a new hospital built in the middle.

Student Maddie Howley, from Shrewsbury, said: "I have been hoping for this outcome since they said they were doing the consultation.

"It is good news for Shrewsbury and of course for the people who live further West, because Telford is a long way to travel.

"You don't want to have to be driving or in the back of an ambulance for all that extra time in an emergency situation."

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Colin Breese, a retired plumber from Bayston Hill, agreed. He said: "I do feel for the people who live in Telford, it must be a worry knowing that if you ever need to go to A&E you have got to travel that distance.

"But it's a lot less of a distance than people from Mid Wales and the borders would have had to travel to Telford had the decision gone the other way."

He added: "I still think the best option would have been to build a new hospital in between."

Dog groomer Louise Mann, from Shrewsbury, said: "I used to live in Telford and I know people there are very passionate about this.

"When they said Shrewsbury was the preferred site a lot of people felt really let down.

"Telford has double the population of Shrewsbury so it does seem a bit questionable.

"It is a lose-lose situation really because it means more people will now have to travel to Telford for planned procedures."

Bookshop worker Nigel Matthews, from Shrewsbury, said: "I think there is the recognition that with funds limited we have got to try and split the resources equally between the two.

"There has got to be an element of realisation that it has got to be based in one place or the other."

Phil Rowe, owner of Urban Bikes UK, in Shrewsbury Market Hall, said he was pleased to have the decision confirmed, recalling when he had to travel half an hour to hospital while down in Somerset after cutting his arm open.

But he conceded: "I can imagine if you lived in Telford you wouldn't be very happy. Perhaps they should have just built a new one in Wellington.

"The trouble with A&E, like the fire service, is that you don't know when you're going to need it. You probably wouldn't care that your local fire station has closed until your house burned down."

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