The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) this afternoon announced that a mixture of locum and agency middle grade doctors are now committed to rotas until the end of March.
The trust has contracted more than the minimum of seven middle grade and 15 specialist nurses needed to keep both A&E departments open.
With nine middle grade doctors arriving by December and a further two in January the trust will have more 20 middle grade doctors – more than at any time in the last seven years
By mid-February there will be an extra three substantive A&E consultants bringing the total to seven – the highest number for many years.
Simon Wright, Chief Executive at SaTH, said: “This is fantastic news. We had said all along that we didn’t want to close either of our A&Es overnight, but that we simply couldn’t keep both open because of the staff shortages in our emergency departments.
“The news of the £312 million investment for the reconfiguration of our two hospitals has allowed us to recruit more consultants, including in A&E.
“We have been working tirelessly behind the scenes, not just in the last few months but over the last few years to put together all the pieces of the 'jigsaw' so that the trust has a compelling offer to attract staff and that hard work has paid off.”
Mr Wright thanked Telford & Wrekin Council and local MPs for all the support the trust had received in its search for new doctors.
He said: “I’ve been genuinely moved by the offers of support the hospital has received through this difficult time and I know this has made a real difference to the morale of staff.
“From the canvassing of ministers and support for speedy visa application processing from Mark Pritchard MP to the calls by Telford & Wrekin Council for the community to refurbish junior doctors accommodation with nearly £30,000 donated by parish councils and the support of local businesses.
“In addition, the meeting at the Indian consulate facilitated by Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies and Mayor Raj Mehta looks to be helping with sourcing doctors from abroad.
“I’d like to especially thank colleagues in the wider NHS, including my colleagues in the north west of England, for their support and sign-posting the trust to potential staff.”
Despite all the doom and gloom from some Labour politicians -delighted to confirm the proposed temporary overnight closure of A&E at the PRH - will no longer happen. Great news. A huge victory for common sense.— Mark Pritchard MP (@MPritchardUK) November 22, 2018
Consultant Kevin Eardley, medical director for unscheduled care, said: “It is great news that we have been successful in securing more doctors to keep both of our A&E departments open 24/7 and therefore prevent the need to inconvenience patients and relatives by diverting them to alternative providers. I hope this to be a springboard to further recruitment and building a more sustainable future.”
Ben Reid, chair of SaTH, said: “This is an outstanding result which few thought was possible. It’s a real tribute to Simon, to the leadership team and especially to the staff already working in Emergency Departments who’ve done so much to keep the service running for the people of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales.
“It really goes to show what can be achieved when local people rally round alongside national bodies and pull in the same direction. When that happens, this hospital trust is far greater than the sum of its parts.”
Very welcome news that night time A&E at PRH will stay open. Hugely grateful for support from health bodies and neighbouring trusts. @sathNHS managers threatened closure instead of finding solutions - causing anxiety for staff, patients and community. Disgraceful incompetence.— Lucy Allan MP (@lucyallan) November 22, 2018
The new A&E middle grade doctors come from a variety of sources including agencies and locums.
Work continues to recruit middle grade doctors into substantive permanent roles with a number of new starters expected to join the trust in March next year.
The trust said a long-term solution to its recruitment challenges is dependent upon the outcome of the NHS Future Fit consultation into the future configuration of acute health services in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us along the way - too many to mention here but you know who you are 👏👏👏— Telford & Wrekin Council (@TelfordWrekin) November 22, 2018
Fantastic news that Telford A&E is remaining open 24 hrs a day. Great work from local MPs @MPritchardUK and @lucyallan who worked to secure the clinical staff needed. Also great news for #Wolverhampton residents and patients of @RWT_NHS. https://t.co/cH0ZuKotCn— 𝗖𝗹𝗹𝗿 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗼𝗻 𝗕𝗲𝗻𝗻𝗲𝘁𝘁 (@CllrSimonB) November 22, 2018
1 - Our co-ordination in past month of a community initiative to refurbish the doctors accommodation at #PRH with now more than £30,000 donated by parish and town councils and the support of local businesses. This is to help with junior and middle grade coctor recruitment pic.twitter.com/mFh5Jlq87k— Telford & Wrekin Council (@TelfordWrekin) November 22, 2018