Failure to agree on A&E closure plan could save Powys residents lives, residents claim


Peter Danby

A DECISION not to go ahead with the possible closure of an Accident and Emergency Unit could save the lives of Mid Wales residents it was claimed.

Councillors were celebrating after plans to axe an accident and emergency unit from either Shrewsbury or Telford were left in ruins when no agreement was reached at the end of a heated meeting.

An extraordinary meeting of the Shropshire and Telford Commissioning group, called to address the current ‘unsustainable over-provision’, divided members along geographical lines.

At a heated meeting held at Shrewsbury FC’s New Meadow, Shropshire members voted against the ‘Future Fit’ proposals by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals with Telford and Wrekin representatives in favour.

Newtown-based County Councillor and health campaigner Joy Jones, who travelled to the meeting with two friends, was highly satisfied with the outcome.

“We can’t afford for our A&E to be further away or people will die. We struggle now to get people to A&E within the golden hour so if they move services further away then there will be no chance of achieving it.

“We already have to travel a long way in an emergency. Tonight was a great result.”

But she warned there was still more campaigning to be done:  “It was a victory but it’s not the end they will be back with a new revised idea to go back on the table.

“We have to keep fighting to keep our emergency services and all other health services that are vital for Mid Wales patients close to our border.”

Simon Wright, chief executive of SaTH, said: “It was really positive that both CCGs agree that the current system is not sustainable and both agreed that we need to centralise services, with one Emergency Centre supported by two Urgent Care Centres, one at each hospital. 

“Importantly they both agree that doing nothing is not an option,” he added.

He welcomed the support of Telford & Wrekin CCG for the plan.

 “We are disappointed that we have been unable to address the concerns of Shropshire GPs and that they felt unable to support the Strategic Outline Case at this stage. 

“There is an element of the plan which needs more detail, and while this would normally happen in the Outline Business Case stage, we will bring those conversations forward, to help secure the support we need to sustain our future provision.

“We are committed to taking these plans forward. 

“A single site for the county’s emergency department is the best way to ensure our patients receive safe and dignified care in the right place at the right time and that we continue to attract the best doctors and nurses and have facilities which are fit for the 21st century, and stop the migration of health services out of our counties.”

See full story in the County Times

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