There have been catastrophic delays outside Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, with ambulances regularly seen queuing outside for hours on end.
Campaigners from Defend Our NHS and Shropshire Needs Ambulances believe putting funding into social care to speed up the discharging of hospital patients is the quickest way to have a significant impact. They have penned a joint statement, which they are asking Salopians to back.
Gill George, chair of Defend Our NHS, said: “The problem is ‘flow’, isn’t it? A&E is full because patients can’t be moved into beds, ambulances queue up outside because A&E can’t admit patients, and of course those ambulances are not available to respond to emergencies.
"The nearest thing we’ve got to a quick fix, then, is investment in social care to support hospital discharge.
"If we get patients out of hospital when they’re ready, we can start to get movement through the system and ambulances back on the road and answering emergency calls. There’s a growing understanding nationally that this is the way to go.
“Of course this wouldn’t sort all the other problems we’ve got in the NHS in Shropshire, the lack of funding, the staff shortages, not having enough beds. We’d like to see a CQC inquiry into those things and some long-term solutions. But – and this is important – we urgently need government funding put into social care to get patients discharged from hospital safely.
"This is the cheapest and fastest way of getting ambulances back on the road, and if we can make this happen, it will save lives.”
Darren Childs, founder of the Shropshire Needs Ambulances campaign, added: “We’re asking local people and local organisations to sign this statement. We’ll be writing to town and parish councils, GP Practices, faith groups, voluntary sector and community organisations – everyone we can think of. We need all of us united in trying to stop the harm and deaths that are now happening completely avoidably.
“We’ll be writing to all our MPs, of course. There’s an important message here though to every one of them. This can’t be about party politics. We need you to admit there’s a crisis going on here, to go back to the government, and to ask and ask again for the social care funding we need to save lives. The lives of your constituents depend on this. We need you to do something about this and do it now.”