NHS bosses in Shropshire have released the first draft of plans for ‘Future Fit’, the reorganisation of local NHS services.
It’s a double whammy for Shropshire patients. Instead of the two A&E departments we have now, there will be only one ‘Emergency Centre’ (the new name for A&E). And instead of the two hospitals we have now, there will almost certainly only be one, alongside the A&E1. That means that critically ill patients have longer ambulance journeys, with all the risks this carries.
It gets even worse than that. Our Emergency Centre in Shropshire will just be a very basic one, that tries to stabilise patients and start treatment. Patients who need any kind of specialist care – including people who have had strokes or heart attacks – will be transferred on to a Major Emergency Centre. The Major Emergency Centre will be at the North Staffordshire Hospital at Stoke-on-Trent2,3.
Gill George, speaking for Shropshire Defend Our NHS, said, ‘This is really bad news for Shropshire people, and for the Welsh residents who depend on the Royal Shrewsbury. Our two A&Es get rolled into one, and then on top of that, it gets downgraded! For a lot of people we’ll be looking at journey times of three hours or more before they get the specialist treatment they need. Centralising specialist care isn’t so bad in cities, but it needs re-thinking for our rural area. You can have the best healthcare in the world, but it’s of no use to you if you’re dead by the time you get there’.
- Futurefit Clinical Design Workstream, Final Report May 2014, Models of Care
- The status of the Shropshire Emergency Centre and North Staffordshire Hospital as our ‘link’ Major Emergency Centre was reported verbally by Shropshire CCG Accountable Officer Caron Morton at a Future Fit engagement meeting on 9th June and confirmed verbally at the Board meeting of Telford and Wrekin CCG on 10th June.
- Transforming urgent and emergency care services in England – Urgent and Emergency Care Review End of Phase 1 Report, November 2013. This national document outlines the relative status of Emergency Centres and Major Emergency Centres (e.g. in the diagram on page 23), and elsewhere in the text).