Telford MP says health bosses must 'recognise shortcomings' to tackle NHS issues

A county MP says local health bosses must "recognise shortcomings" in an effort to improve services in the county.

The NHS has been enduring one of its toughest winters on record
The NHS has been enduring one of its toughest winters on record

Lucy Allan, Telford Conservative MP and a member of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, raised the problems plaguing the NHS at the committee on Monday.

Speaking following the meeting she said: "I am grateful that the Shropshire Star has undertaken such a comprehensive investigation into our local health system. While there are significant pressures nationally on the NHS, there is no doubt that access to care and provision of care is worse in Telford and Shropshire than it is in many other parts of the country.

"Our trust is in special measures, both our hospitals are ranked inadequate by the CQC and critical incidents are declared with such regularity that they seem commonplace. The trust is ranked fourth from the bottom in the country for failing to meet A&E waiting targets and orthopaedic surgery has not restarted at [Princess Royal Hospital] since the pandemic, whereas other hospitals have continued to operate throughout.

"This failure to operate only adds to the increased demand on other services as people wait for operations in considerable pain and at risk of falls. The difficulties in accessing local GP services only adds to the burden on A&E.

Lucy Allan speaking with former Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a 2019 visit to Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

"All Shropshire MPs met with the health management last Friday. It is a concern that there is very little focus on what trust leaders can do to improve the local service for local people. We recognise that the hospital transformation plan will improve access and outcomes, but there is more work to be done to drill down into tackling the specific local issues and seeking out mutual aid from neighbouring trusts. I want NHSE to ensure that patients, no matter where they live in the country, can access basic minimum care. There is much more work to do.

"I raised the Star’s investigation today in the House of Commons and I asked the Secretary of State to meet all Shropshire MPs, so we can together tackle the specific challenges that Shropshire healthcare faces and that our constituents experience every day. Local health leaders are responsible for local health provision and recognising shortcomings is an important first step."

Daniel Kawczynski MP

Shrewsbury & Atcham's Conservative MP, Daniel Kawczynski, said the NHS was "monopolistic and monolithic", and "unfit for purpose".

He said: "It is not an issue of resources, this year the NHS will receive £195 billion, that's more than 90 per cent of the world's countries have for everything, defence, education, social security, everything.

"There are just a handful of countries that spend £195 billion a year on health care.

"The problem is the monopolistic and monolithic system within the NHS makes it unfit for purpose."

Mr Kawczynski said the delays to the proposed Future Fit reorganisation of hospital services in the county was an example of how the management system of the NHS was failing patients.

"Where in the private sector would you be given £312 million, and it remains unspent because they can't agree on how it should be used?," he said.

"They are still debating how that £312 million is going to be spent. The management of the trust have failed. If this happened in the private sector, heads would roll."

North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan

But, Helen Morgan, Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire, said the issues were down to "Conservative neglect".

She said: “The NHS crisis is now so bad that it is difficult to find words that accurately describe the gravity of the situation.

“The Star investigation demonstrated the pressure that the health service is under after more than a decade of Conservative neglect.

“This pressure exists across the country but it is particularly acute in Shropshire where we do not have anywhere near enough doctors, nurses or carers.

“We have a real problem with recruiting and retaining staff – and this is an issue I raised with the Health Secretary in the House of Commons yesterday. Despite years of warnings, we are yet to see any real effort from the Government to solve the NHS workforce problem.

“Workers in every area of healthcare are burnt out – from GPs to paramedics to nurses and carers.

“It’s not fair on staff and it’s not fair on patients.”

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