Today at a meeting in Telford, Lucy Allan, supported by local Councillors, met with leaders from SaTH including Chief Executive, Simon Wright, to put forward the views and concerns of the community about the announcement to close the A&E at the Princess Royal Hospital overnight.
The purpose of the summit was to inform SaTH about concerns of residents in Telford and to find out what plans the Trust has to overcome current challenges to keep the A&E open.
During the meeting, SaTH heard from councillors of all parties including Labour, Independent and Conservative councillors.
Elected representatives asked questions ranging from why the Trust was having difficulties recruiting enough middle grade doctors and the uncertainty and anxiety that this closure has created within the local community.
SaTH confirmed that recruitment of doctors and nurses in rural areas is a nationwide issue and also confirmed that they are currently looking at ways to keep the urgent care centre open 24/7. They have also asked each neighbouring hospital in the region to release 1 doctor for at least 6-9 months to help keep the A&E open at the PRH.
Lucy Allan said:
‘I found the summit useful and a good opportunity for local representatives to engage with SaTH to express our concerns on behalf of our residents.
‘I was pleased that SaTH listened carefully to all the concerns that were raised on behalf of our constituents. I am assured the Chief Executive understands the severity of the situation and wants to work with MPs and local councillors as well as the community to find a solution.
‘SaTH have asked if NHS England have the powers to post doctors to certain hospitals in times of need. This is certainly something that I will take up with Health Ministers in Parliament which will ensure that recruit levels at PRH are met and the A&E is able to stay open 24/7.
‘I hope that all local representatives will remain in dialogue on a cross party basis to put the needs and concerns of our residents first. Ultimately this is about ensuring that Telford's healthcare needs are met.
'Understandably feelings have been running high and people have been in shock over the plans to close our A&E at night. Whilst it’s easy to point the finger of blame for what has gone wrong it is easier to find solutions and it is solutions that our community expects from us.
'Yesterday’s summit meeting was a turning point. Having at last been given the chance to meet Trust management we were able to work out steps we can take to help solve the problem as quickly as possible.'