Calls for Shropshire hospitals 'rescue plan' after MP meets Health Secretary
Calls have been made for a Government-backed plan to "rescue" Shropshire's hospitals.
It comes after Telford MP Lucy Allan asked Health Secretary Matt Hancock to put the trust that runs Shropshire's two main hospitals into special measures - but he said he did not have the power to do so.
However, Mr Hancock said he would monitor the situation, which the leader of Telford & Wrekin Council has said is "simply not good enough".
Ms Allan said: “It will strengthen the case for intervention to have the council set out its concerns in writing and support the call for special measures. If the council has not yet done so, it is important that it does so at the earliest opportunity.
“We recognise the CQC won’t be able to magic up more doctors overnight. However, they will be able to provide oversight and the much needed support and advice to help trust management get back on track and ensure our community has access to safe accident and emergency care.
"I have set out in detail the many challenges the trust faces to the CQC, the chief hospital inspector and the health secretary.
"I met with the Health Secretary together with Telford councillor Nic Lowery. The health secretary shares my concerns on the serious challenges the trust faces and has agreed to work with local MPs to find a solution."
It was announced last week that in November Telford's A&E will be closed overnight for at least six months.
The overnight closure will mean the emergency department will close between 8pm and 8am.
The trust is blaming staff shortages, with major gaps in consultants and middle-grade doctors.
Shaun Davies, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, said: "It's simply not good enough for the Health Secretary to simply monitor the situation - we need a Government-backed rescue plan now.
"The situation has been urgent for many many months now.
"I'm disappointed that Lucy Allan didn't reach out to work on a cross-party basis.
"Residents will be rightly concerned with the lack of action."
Katrina Gilman, Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Telford, added: "I am deeply concerned that there appears to be little action.
"I am hoping there is more action and a rescue plan on its way from Matt Hancock.
"Otherwise stand aside and let Jon Ashworth bring a rescue plan forward."
Councillor Lowery, who attended the meeting with the meeting with Health Secretary Matt Hancock, said it was important that everyone works together to raise concerns with the CQC.
She said: “I was pleased to see the health secretary listen to our concerns and recognise the gravity of the situation.
“A trust may be put into special measures for quality reasons or NHS Improvement may also place a trust in special measures without receiving a recommendation from the chief inspector of hospitals, based on its own evidence. In these circumstances, NHS Improvement will always seek advice from CQC.
“When NHS Improvement receives a recommendation from the chief inspector of hospitals to place a trust in special measures for quality reasons, it will develop an appropriate package of support, taking into account the evidence CQC provides alongside relevant evidence including trust operational performance. The special measures support package will include addressing the issues that directly led to the organisation going into special measures but could cover other challenges too.
“I was pleased to see the health secretary listen and recognise the gravity of our concerns on the challenges faced by SaTH and it is important all concerned work together to raise concerns with the CQC and the chief hospital inspector."