6 December 2015
For over a year the residents of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and large swathes of Wales have been subjected to a disorganised discussion about A&E. We have been told there can only be one A&E unit and this may be in Telford. We understand that the suggestion of a completely new capability on a greenfield site somewhere between Shrewsbury and Telford is dead and buried. We have been worried about the loss of easily accessible A&E, worried about travel times to an A&E unit much further away than it used to be, and are fed up with the uncertainty and anxiety that all of this has created.
The time has come to inject some common sense and certainty into this messy discussion. We need a firm decision and commitment to providing a full-spectrum A&E unit at RSH in Shrewsbury. This will serve communities that stretch out along the A49 towards Ludlow, including Church Stretton and all the towns and villages that lie in South and West Shropshire including Bishop’s Castle. We also need a full-spectrum A&E unit in Telford because it is a large and important urban area with some 150,000 residents.
It is illogical and unintelligent to expect residents in places such as Bishop’s Castle, Oswestry and Church Stretton to travel to an A&E unit in Telford and it is unacceptable to ask 150,000 Telford residents to travel to Shrewsbury. Furthermore, Shrewsbury serves a large rural area in Wales and it is even more illogical and unintelligent to require those who live in these communities to travel to Telford.
The uncertainty and stress caused by those responsible for delivering high-quality health care in Shropshire has increased in recent days as a result of the suggestion that one A&E unit should close overnight. This is totally unacceptable and is yet another indicator of the inability of healthcare managers to deliver a straightforward, reliable and accessible 24/7 A&E service in Shropshire. We fully endorse the comments by Gill George (Shropshire Defend Our NHS) in the Shropshire Star .
Commenting on over 12 months of confusion and lack of certainty in the provision of A&E services, John Whitelegg, Press Officer for South Shropshire Green Party, said:
“It is now time to bring this chaos to an end. We need fulltime A&E units in both Shrewsbury and Telford and these units must be well-staffed and well-funded to the same standards that would apply in any other part of the UK. The health and welfare of some 500,000 people is at stake and it is morally and medically wrong to subject patients to over-long journeys by ambulance to A&E units that are deliberately made more remote from where people live. The Green Party demands high-quality healthcare near to where people live and demands an end to the cost-cutting charade of who will or will not have an A&E unit.”
Cath Edwards, spokesperson for Telford & Wrekin Green Party said:
“We need our MPs and councillors to be fighting for both A&Es, not making political capital out of the one on their patch.”
Alice Hooker-Stroud, lead candidate for the Green Party in Mid & West Wales in next year’s Welsh Assembly elections, said:
"Mid & West Wales already suffers from lack of access to proficient healthcare services. People already have to travel many miles to gain access to many important services, and we are seeing more and more closures in Wales and in places that serve people living close to the border. Many in North Powys rely on Shrewsbury A&E. We must have a full service there. People in Mid Wales should not be punished for the failures of Westminster to provide adequate funding for a healthcare service that provides equality of care for all."
Emma Bullard, Co-ordinator of Shrewsbury and North Shropshire Green Party, said:
"The Future Fit programme has concentrated on hospital A&E services without any work being done on the Urgent Care Centres and the improvements to care in the community which were meant to be integral to the programme. No changes should be made to A&E without looking at ways to provide more local services – but instead social care is being cut and no proposals have even been made for Urgent Care Centres."
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