Closing A&E units due to staff shortages is a scandal

By Jill Seymour

So now we know. Overnight accident and emergency services at Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital are due to close for at least six months, from November.

This simply cannot be allowed to happen. It is a scandal, in a supposedly developed society such as ours, that health officials should find themselves backed into a corner by a chronic lack of qualified staff.

The Government has it entirely in its power to address this issue before the scheduled shut-down – and it must do so, without delay. This is no time for political side-stepping, or lame excuses.

I know from personal experience just how much difference an extra 10 or 15-minute dash down the M54 or A5 can make in times of emergency.

The first few moments of a blue-light call are the most critical, and once Telford loses its night-time A&E service, the chances of it being gone for ever will rise sharply.

The result? Downgrading of a hospital serving one of the fastest growing populations in the Midlands, and an even longer tailback of night-time ambulances in Shrewsbury, Stoke or Wolverhampton – which are already struggling to cope with their own excessive workloads.

The Royal College of Medicine recommends that SaTH’s two A&E departments should have 52 emergency medicine consultants or middle grade doctors – they have just 21.

The NHS, and its hard-working Shropshire staff, are being treated with contempt by our Government, which is too busy dithering and in-fighting to put Britain’s best interests at heart.

It’s time to remove the chiefs, and put the running of our hospitals back into the hands of those who actually work on the front line, and understand what is needed.

Better still, get this Government to stop throwing money into vanity projects like HS2, stop wasting money on giving foreign aid handouts to countries who make it clear they don’t need it – and roll on to March 29th 2019, when we regain our independence and stop sending money to the EU.

Charity should begin at home, and right now, our people are crying out for priority services and care. Instead, all we hear about and see are cutbacks . . . to police, schools, health, and social care.

This Government is moving backwards, and has seemingly forgotten to listen to the people it serves.

So here are three simple requests, for starters.

Firstly, and most urgently, we need to pull together as one community voice – regardless of age, background or political persuasion – to force the Government to stand up and listen, and come to Telford’s rescue.

Secondly, Britain needs an NHS training and recruitment system which is worthy of the name. This has been neglected for far too long, and attempted remedies in recent months have done little more than offer a tiny sticking plaster for a gaping open wound.

And thirdly, we must give NHS staff the salaries and conditions which their skills deserve, and make them feel appreciated for the incredible work they do, in trying circumstances.