'Desecration of the NHS': Liberal Democrats attack plans for Telford's 'A&E Local'
Reducing services at Telford's A&E is a "desecration of the NHS", the area's Liberal Democrat party has said.
Parliamentary candidates Shana Roberts and Thomas Janke, who are vying to represent the Telford and Wrekin constituencies, said that costs would increase on expensive ambulance trips if drivers were forced to leave the town.
Their comments come after it was revealed what services would be offered at Telford's replacement 'A&E Local'.
Under the plan Royal Shrewsbury Hospital becomes home to the county's main A&E and consultant-led women and children's services, which are currently based at PRH.
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The latest proposal for PRH to be an 'A&E Local' would be an upgrade on the previous Future Fit plan for the hospital to become an Urgent Care Centre.
But it will only be open for "core hours", and would deal with emergency ambulance cases such as 'low risk chest pain', pneumonia, DVT or cellulitis.
The hospital would have an emergency medical consultant for "defined hours" but ambulances would take seriously ill patients elsewhere for treatment, and seriously ill 'walk in' patients would be stabilised before being transferred to "an appropriate facility".
In a joint statement, the Liberal Democrat candidates said: "Our worst fears are being realised. Future Fit is taking away our 24-hour A&E at the PRH. A&E 'not' Local means residents across our constituencies will have longer and more expensive journeys to Shrewsbury, Stoke and Wolverhampton for emergency care. In a growing town like Telford, this is nothing but desecration of our NHS Services by the Conservative government.
"Liberal Democrats will fund the NHS properly with a penny on income tax raising £6 billion pounds extra a year for health services."
Theirs is the latest criticism of the plans. Shaun Davies, Labour leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, said the move was a political stunt.
"Clearly – it is outlined in both letters from the Health Department – our A&E will still be downgraded to a part time Local A&E that will take some patients, some of the time," he said.
Former Telford MP Lucy Allan, who is standing again for the Conservatives in Telford, said the move was a step forward but that residents needed 24/7 access to services.
Mark Pritchard, who is defending his seat in the Wrekin, said he welcomed the plans for the A&E, but that more details were needed on A&E Local.