Telford Journal Column

I am proud our community has come together to ensure that we do everything we can to keep open 24 hour A&E at Princess Royal. The inability to recruit doctors and nurses to work at Princess Royal threatens our A&E with night time closures, creating serious risks for our community.

I am grateful for the of support of residents as we work with the NHS to source more doctors and nurses. I am confident we will find a solution. It is not an option to close night time A&E.

Anyone who has been to A&E will tell you of the amazing work that A&E staff do, and the huge pressures they face. I am so grateful to them for their efforts on behalf of our community and I know they have our full support at this difficult time.

Whilst the Trust, MPs and Councillors work together to find a solution to the staffing crisis, now is not the time to be pointing the finger of blame. However, there are many questions to be asked; one I am often asked is: why has it taken so long for the Trust to recognise the challenges it faces?

We know that over the last 6 months the Hospital Trust has been facing multiple crisis: the worst A&E waiting times in the country, staff shortages, a Care Quality Commission enforcement action for the practice of ‘boarding’ in A&E and failure to identity Sepsis, the baby deaths scandal (which is by no means purely historic) and now unplanned A&E night time closures. There is a sense that no one is listening, that management and others are dismissing these crises as just more political noise. Only this time it isn’t. This is one of the dangerous consequences of playing politics with our NHS.

It has taken this management 5 years to issue the Future Fit consultation document setting out how emergency care is delivered in future. This in itself is indicative of a management which is struggling.

We do now have to ask should Government give this management £312m of tax payers’ money for capital investment and significant change, when it can’t manage the running of existing hospital services. Those 5 years were wasted; if we now had a brand new emergency centre in the county and both our hospitals had 24 hour urgent care, we would not be looking at the current mess.