Health bosses are 'playing with fire' over A&E decision, warns businessman
Health bosses are “playing with fire” by changing the way health services are delivered in Shropshire, it has been warned.
The chairman of Telford’s Business Board is the latest voice to oppose siting the county’s only full 24/7 A&E and the Women and Children’s Centre at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
Paul Hinkins said one A&E will not be fit for purpose as the population in Telford increases.
It comes after the plans were rubber-stamped by health bosses during a meeting at Harper Adams University on January 29.
Mr Hinkins said: “Telford and Shropshire has a rapidly increasing total population together with massive increase in housing numbers. One A&E will not be fit for purpose in the future let alone today.
“Thirty-two per cent of patients are not seen at Telford and Shrewsbury’s emergency departments within the target four-hour time-frame, the second worst in the country.
“Future Fit will result in less beds and less nurses than we currently have. Reducing the number of A&Es from two to one is madness. Future Fit will turn a crisis into a catastrophe.
“Telford’s population started at 75,000 – it now stands at 170,000 and is rapidly growing, not to mention the surrounding areas that PRH serves outside of the borough. We have a growing youth population and the elderly are choosing to stay in the local region, plenty of justification for two A&Es.”
“In under three years Telford has attracted 236million of inward investment, just like education, housing and place the availability and access to emergency care and A&E is vital and there is a clear need for this to be part of the infrastructure out of necessity. The Women and Children’s unit which was commissioned four years ago at a cost of £28million and just from a business and commercial aspect it is senseless to relocate this unit
“Government must listen to the voice of the people and respond accordingly, both the public and businesses cannot all be wrong.”
The £312 million scheme will mean there will be walk-in urgent care centres at both Shrewsbury and Telford and consultant-led women and children’s services will be based at Shrewsbury.
The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said the decision would allow specialist doctors to treat the most serious cases on the emergency care site, which they say is proven to be safer, to provide better results for patients and reduce the amount of time people have to stay in hospital.
Councillor Shaun Davies, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, said: “Businesses are echoing what we have said all along, that this preferred option of Future Fit will have a very negative effect on health services in our borough.
“It will also have a much wider detrimental effect beyond the health service. The decision of the Clinical Commissioning Groups will affect the attractiveness of Telford to new businesses.
“Companies wanting to relocate take a number of factors into account. One of them will be the provision of health services in the area they are looking to move to. That includes the provision of a local, full 24/7 A&E.”