Telford hospital given £2 million to fund winter preparations
Shropshire’s major hospitals have been awarded £2 million as part of a £300 million investment announced by the Government to help the NHS prepare for winter.
The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, will use the money to convert the former Wrekin midwife-led unit (MLU) into a ‘priorities admission unit’, which will help to ease pressure on A&E.
The MLU has been replaced with a purpose-built modular building next to the consultant-led unit at the Women and Children’s Centre at PRH.
This funding forms part of an extra £1.5 billion capital funding announced by the Prime Minister and comes four days after it was announced that the chairman of SaTH is stepping down and being replaced by a directory of a major Midlands hospital trust.
Ben Reid is leaving the role five months earlier than planned and being replaced by Dr Catriona McMahon from University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), a teaching trust which is also being paid to provide targeted support to SaTH.
Sara Biffen, deputy chief operating officer at SaTH, said: “We are delighted to have secured this funding, which will have a significant positive impact as we look to deal with the challenges that winter brings.
“Winter traditionally brings with it additional demands on our services and this, coupled with our ongoing coronavirus response, will bring a number of challenges.
“By creating a priority admissions unit, we will be able to move patients into beds more quickly, which will reduce the pressure on our emergency department and improve care for our patients.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We continue to deliver on our promise to build back better and faster, with £300 million allocated today for NHS trusts to upgrade their facilities and improve A&E capacity.
“These upgrades will help our fantastic NHS prepare for the winter months, helping them to deliver world-leading services and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections.
“Thanks to the hard work and tireless efforts of NHS staff throughout the pandemic, our A&Es have remained open for the public.
“It’s vital that those who need emergency treatment this winter access it, and for those who remain concerned about visiting hospitals, let me assure you that the NHS has measures in place to keep people safe.”
Health Minister Edward Argar said the NHS did an 'amazing job' to ensure emergency care continued to be available for everyone who needed it during the peak of the pandemic.
He added: “Today, we are announcing the details of the trusts across the country who will receive a share of £300 million to upgrade their A&Es and support emergency care to help them to continue to deliver safe and accessible services throughout the normally busy winter period.
“This funding is part of our record investment in NHS infrastructure to ensure our health services continues to meet the needs of the present and to be fit for future demands placed upon it.”
MPs welcome funding
Telford MP Lucy Allan said the announcement was "very welcome news".
Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, said: "This is very good news and comes on top of additional and record funding for the PRH and the NHS locally. These funds will help reduce winter pressures and is very welcome."
Ludlow MP Philip Dunne added: "NHS staff in Shropshire have worked tirelessly over recent months, and I would like to thank them for everything they have done to get our local community through the coronavirus pandemic.
“While we hope for the best this winter, it's right that we plan for the worst. This funding to upgrade A&E at the PRH will ensure that we are in the best possible position for the challenges that the winter months may bring."
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