What do we know?
We know for sure now that NHS bosses want to close down the A&E at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and get rid of most of the services provided by the hospital. We know this from the small print of the ‘Future Fit’ paperwork, and from the information now emerging from Future Fit workstreams.
Maternity and in-patient children’s services have already been moved to the Princess Royal Hospital at Telford. NHS bosses want a single ‘Emergency Centre’ to replace our two A&Es, and they’ve decided it must be on the same site as maternity and children’s units – so that means Telford. They’ve decided to replace our two District General Hospitals (at Shrewsbury and Telford) with a single ‘high acuity’ hospital for the sickest people and a single ‘Diagnostic and Treatment Centre’ for people needing planned care such as hip replacements or cataract surgery. Guess what? These will be in the same place as the Emergency Centre – so they will be at Telford too.
It’s very clear: our two A&Es and our two District General Hospitals are intended to be replaced with one A&E and one big hospital centre, and everything will be based in Telford. Minor surgery for lumps and bumps? Telford. Radiotherapy and other cancer care? Telford. A life threatening emergency? Telford. NHS bosses claim that no decision has been taken. Technically that’s true. Officially, no decision will be taken until after a brief period of public consultation in about a year from now. Behind closed doors, they’ve already decided on how to push through massive cuts to our NHS – and that’s by getting rid of almost all the services at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
We don’t think this is a battle between Shrewsbury and Telford. Our hospital services cover a population of over 500,000 people across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, and Powys. The geographical area served by our local NHS is vast (around 1235 square miles just in Shropshire). Patients in South and South West Shropshire already face some of the longest journeys in England to get to hospital. Ambulances already fail to meet target response times. We need both of our existing hospitals and both of our A&Es, in Shrewsbury and Telford. If we close either hospital, people will die.
It gets even worse! Under national plans, the single Emergency Centre in Telford won’t be a fully staffed or equipped ‘Major Emergency Centre’ or ‘Specialist Emergency Centre’. It will be a smaller A&E with less funding and fewer staff. Patients with heart attacks and strokes will be transferred to the North Staffordshire Hospital at Stoke-on-Trent. NHS bosses say we’re just scaremongering – but we’ve been tipped off that these changes are already happening, and they’ve somehow forgotten to tell anyone! Under their plans, patients will face waits of three hours or more before they get specialist treatment. For heart attacks and strokes, this is a catastrophe.
- What can you do?
Contact your MP and your councillor. We’ve written to Shropshire Council councillors, and we’re getting in touch with town and parish councillors and with MPs. They need to know that people care about the NHS, and that we want our elected representatives to stand up and be counted when it comes to keeping a working NHS in Shropshire. You can contact councillors and MPs through the website https://www.writetothem.com/ . Do you need more information? Our letter to councillors is here:
- Their first step in closing down the A&E at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital is to privatise 60% of it, giving it to a private company called Malling Health. At the same time, they’ll be closing down a valued walk-in centre at Monkmoor. They want to do all this with no consultation at all, and to get it all done by Christmas. NHS bosses have called a meeting about this on Tuesday 2nd September at 6.30 pm, Lord Hill Hotel, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury SY2 6AX. Come and tell them what you think.
- There are other ‘public engagement’ meetings called by the NHS – they want to tell us that closing hospitals is a wonderful idea. To book a place at any of these meetings, please ring 0121 612 2805 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Here are the meeting details:
OSWESTRY: Thursday 18th September, Oswestry Cricket Club, 5.00 pm to 9.00 pm
NEWPORT: Friday 19th September, Cosy Hall, Newport, 1.00 pm to 5.00 pm
NEWTOWN: Monday 22nd September, The Monty Club, Newtown, 5.00 pm to 9.00 pm
LUDLOW: Tuesday 23rd September, Ludlow Assembly Rooms, 10.00 am to 2.00 pm
- Public Meeting
And finally… Shropshire People’s Assembly has called a public meeting on defending our NHS on Thursday September 11th at 7.30 pm at Shrewsbury Baptist Church, Claremont Street SY1 1QG (doors open at 7.00). Speakers include Dr Kambiz Boomla, GP and campaigner; Mark Lyons, Vice Chair of Unite, and Gill George, local NHS campaigner. Please come along to this if you can.
Gill George, Chair
Joyce Brand, Secretary
Shropshire Defend Our NHS