Shropshire Star

Former mayor's 25-hour wait from 999 call to hospital bed leaves her 'appalled'

The head of the NHS in Shropshire has apologised after a former mayor of the county was left waiting at A&E for 25 hours.

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Pauline Dee

Pauline Dee, who served as a Wem councillor for nearly 40 years and as the town’s mayor, said she had to visit the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital twice last week.

On the second occasion, she said she was left waiting for 25 hours from the time she phoned 999 to when hospital staff finally found her a bed.

She said: “I was taken into Accident and Emergency at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital twice last week. The first time wasn’t so bad, but my second trip took 25 hours from phoning 999.

“After a long wait, I arrived at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital at 1.30pm on Tuesday but didn’t have a bed until 4.45am on Wednesday morning. Another gentleman in around the same time spent Tuesday morning through to evening in an ambulance outside.

“I am appalled at the conditions and strain that the staff are under – they never stop working. Despite this, the lack of facilities and accommodation mean that people in Shropshire are not getting the care they need.

“When I first came to Wem, the situation wasn’t perfect, but a ‘bad wait’ was three or four hours. Now we are in a situation where people are having experiences like mine every week, which is simply not acceptable.

“It is clear to me that Shropshire’s emergency care is a crisis and needs a response from the Government reflective of that.”

North Shropshire Lib Dem MP Helen Morgan has written to the head of the local health service after hearing stories from Pauline and many other constituents over the state of emergency care in the county.

Simon Whitehouse, chief executive officer for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, has responded and apologised for the delays.

He said: “I understand the concerns raised by Helen Morgan MP and apologise to any patients who have experienced long waits for care.

“Our health and care system continues to experience high levels of demand; this is impacting all our services, especially our A&Es and waiting times in those departments."

He added that £21.4 million of funding is being allocated to the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), to be used to create additional winter bed capacity and will be delivered in partnership with Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust.

“During the meeting of the Integrated Care Board yesterday, both trusts provided assurance that 46 beds will be fully operational from January 2024, with additional beds coming on stream later in the year.

“I urged people to ‘think which service’ and choose the right service for their needs to help reduce the pressure and enable people to get the care they need, as quickly as possible. I would also ask that people be respectful to all health and care staff.”