Lucy Allan tells the Telford Journal why SaTH's Hospital Improvement Plan is so urgently needed:
"Anyone who has been to A&E at Princess Royal or waited in an ambulance outside will know that it is frequently overwhelmed and at times unsafe. There have been multiple critical incidents declared in the last six months. Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH) is, by every performance measure, in the bottom 10% of Trusts across the country. Residents are suffering and we must act.
All local politicians have a duty to work with clinicians, hospital management and the new Integrated Care Board (ICB) to ensure much needed improvements are delivered. Years of controversy over the former Future Fit scheme led to the current failing model of care. So, it is welcome that the new management team have now brought forward revised plans to improve hospital care. We need to help them deliver these plans urgently.
Under these new plans most of A&E services currently delivered at Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) will continue to be offered 24/7 including Same Day Emergency Care. Complex critical care patients from across Mid-Wales, Shropshire and Telford will no longer come to PRH. Instead, they will be taken to a specialist critical care centre.
By taking the complex critical care cases out of the system and away from PRH, access for local people to the most frequently used A&E services at PRH will be greatly improved. This model of A&E care, (separating the most critical cases from the rest of A&E care) is used across the country and is one that leads to improvement in safety and access.
The Hospital Trust management, clinicians and ICB are clear: their new improvement plan enhances patient care, patient safety and patient experience for people in Telford & Wrekin. I have asked this question and this is what they have said. I trust our local clinicians to put patient care and patient safety at the heart of their decision making. It is time for all local representatives to trust the judgement of local clinicians and accept their new improvement. We need better care and we need it as a matter of urgency.
The new management team have been willing to engage with me, they have been receptive to my concerns about the old Future Fit plans and they have been prepared to compromise and find a solution to this long running saga.
We all want improved access to A&E to minimise the suffering and distress our residents routinely experience trying to get treatment. For this reason, we need to support the Hospital management, the clinicians and the ICB in delivering their improvement plan despite the difficult inflationary environment. This is a plan that local clinicians recommend as in the best interests of local patients. We cannot and must not continue with the existing unsafe model of care. It does not work.”