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Shropshire Star comment: It’s time for clarity over NHS future

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

Urgent talks are taking place to ensure accident and emergency services do not have to close overnight in Telford.

A locum is required in order that the service can continue to operate properly and cover is not removed overnight.

And while we can but hope that the preferred outcome will materialise, the fact is that such talks are indicative of the parlous state of affairs in Shropshire that exists in the NHS.

In recent years, there has been much talk about rationalisation, reorganisation and planning for the future. The Future Fit process has been mooted, consultations have taken place but so far there has been no progress.

There is a perception the NHS has gone backwards in recent times. It is increasingly viewed as an organisation in crisis that is not equipped to cope today with the needs and wishes of residents.

The latest move prompts further serious questions about the long-term outlook for local health services. For it seems that the NHS in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin is becoming a victim of its own poor public image.

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Consultants who might wish to move to the area to take up senior posts will not be easy to find as they reflect on an outlook that is at best uncertain. Why move to a hospital when the job being offered might be changed or removed at some point in the future?

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Public confidence in the NHS might not be as important as the more serious business of delivering exceptional healthcare. But it matters nonetheless. It is important that the local populace is confident in the health service’s ability to provide healthcare to those who need it most.

After a lengthy period of uncertainty, it is high time for decisiveness and sure-footedness in our local NHS. There are good managers in place who require the support of central Government so that they can get on and do their job.

Residents have by now accepted that in an age of uncertainty and funding shortfalls, they cannot always have all of the health care they might like.

But operating in a vacuum where uncertainty reigns is good for no one: Not the patients, the hospital, the staff who work there or the public at large.

Clear-thinking, good decision-making and a higher degree of certainty are what is required as we move into a new era. The doubt and uncertainty cause no-one any good.

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