My Telford Journal Column - Improving our healthcare

Shropshire’s healthcare bosses have been conducting a complex review of our healthcare for so long that we are left feeling confused, anxious and ill informed. 

In four years nothing has been resolved, no one has asked us what we think, no one has assured us that Telford’s health needs will be met.

Local politicians peddle scare stories, healthcare bosses respond in words no one understands - once again our hospital is hijacked for political gain. 

No wonder people in Telford feel frustrated. We need grown up straight talking.

I have consistently made two simple points to local healthcare bosses, to Government and to the Secretary of State: Telford needs 24 hour walk in A&E; Telford needs its Women and Children Centre

Telford has a growing population of more than 170,000; it is remote from other urban centres, with poor transport connections and low car ownership; Telford has marked health inequalities and a young population.

These are simple truths. NHS investment for the future adds complexity. Healthcare provision evolves as medical science advances. Specialist centres deliver specialist care.  The plans for Shropshire are to invest in a specialist critical care unit for life-threatening conditions serving the whole County and beyond. The process being used to decide where this unit will be located is complex. 

But this is no reason allow plans for the future to descend into confusion and paralysis. Health bosses and must keep us informed and respond to false narratives, clearly stating: 

1 - Telford will have 24 hour walk in A&E at PRH;

2 - The Women & Children’s Centre will remain open;

3 - The NHS will meet the health needs of our thriving town.

These three simple messages would reassure 99% of Telford residents and would be 100% consistent with NHS plans.

Telford is a thriving new town. Our health needs differ from those of rural Shropshire or a County town. By suggesting our health needs are the same local health bosses show a failure to understand Telford, its past, and its future. By not responding to false narratives health bosses create uncertainty and foster frustration throughout our community.

Those who want to secure Telford’s future must get on with the job.  We need clear assurances from healthcare decision makers that proposed changes will deliver improved healthcare for Telford and will meet the specific needs of our town.