Shropshire Star

Emergency care 'needs resuscitation' in Shropshire amid description of 'dreadful' A&E scenes

Shropshire's emergency care services need "resuscitation", a councillor has said after a petition was launched.

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Councillor Bernie Bentick has hit out at overcrowding in A&E departments

Former NHS consultant and councillor Bernie Bentick has hit out at overcrowding in A&E, describing scenes on a Friday and Saturday night as "dreadful".

Now the Lib Dems in Shrewsbury have launched a petition calling for emergency care to be prioritised, with changes needed to save lives.

Councillor Bentick said: "Shropshire’s Emergency Care Services are failing and need urgent resuscitation. Health chiefs must prioritise urgent care to achieve acceptable quality and stop unnecessary deaths.

“The level of overcrowding and delays in Shropshire’s emergency care services is a scandal and resembles some Third World countries. This gaping wound in our healthcare needs radical and immediate surgery, not another sticking plaster.

“I call on Shropshire’s health chiefs to visit local Emergency Departments on Friday and Saturday nights, as I have done, to see the misery of those sitting, standing and occasionally lying in overcrowded waiting areas, often in pain and without privacy or dignity, waiting for many hours to be clinically assessed and frequently for over 12 hours to be admitted. These dreadful scenes must stop."

Simon Whitehouse, chief executive of NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said: “I understand the concerns raised by Mr Bentick and apologise to any patients who have experienced long waits for care.

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

“Last winter, while shadowing an ambulance crew over a Friday night shift, I witnessed first-hand our dedicated staff working tirelessly in extremely challenging conditions.

“Improving our Urgent and Emergency Care services is a key priority for our system, and we have implemented several measures to ensure patients receive the appropriate care they need, when they need it; this includes increasing capacity by opening new Rehabilitation and Recovery Units and Ambulance Receiving Areas at both hospital sites."

Councillor Bentick set out five points that he feels would improve the situation. They are:

1. Significantly increase the number of qualified and experienced clinical staff responding to 111 calls, who can then give sufficient clinical advice to reassure callers and so reduce the number presenting to the emergency departments.

2. Reduce non-urgent, elective in-patient surgical activity, until hospital waiting times for emergency admissions reduce to under five hours and until delays for emergency operations reduce to less than 12 hours.

3. Ensure that the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals urgent care system deploys sufficient staff of all relevant disciplines to be immediately available to patients who are ready for discharge, to ensure an efficient and rapid patient discharge process.

4. ⁠Improve the payments to the adult social care system to permit timely discharge of patients needing a community/social care package.

5. Ensure that all of Shropshire's community hospitals are fully funded and staffed to permit them to function at full capacity.

Councillor Bentick is also encouraging residents to contact him on to share any experiences they may have had with the Emergency Services. Where requested, he will raise concerning experiences anonymously with the relevant body.

Liberal Democrat councillors in Shrewsbury are campaigning for emergency care to be prioritised, with changes needed to save lives and protect our NHS. They have launched a petition calling for action at