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A&E: West Midlands

Volume 648: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2018

6. What assessment he has made of the effect of the planned closure of Telford Hospital’s A&E department on other A&E departments in the west midlands. (907214)

The planned temporary overnight closure of the Princess Royal Hospital’s A&E in Telford is necessary to ensure that patients continue to receive safe care. The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust is working closely with colleagues in neighbouring provider trusts and the ambulance service to develop plans for key clinical pathways to minimise the impact.

The proposed closure of Telford A&E would pile even more pressure on New Cross Hospital in my constituency. If the Government will not step in to stop the closure, as it sounds is the case from the Minister’s answer, will they give New Cross the resources it needs to recruit upfront the nurses, doctors and other staff they need so that patients do not have to suffer longer delays?

The current modelling suggests that about 11 ambulances will be diverted from the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust between the hours of 10 pm and 8 am during closure. Of the patients who go to Wolverhampton, any admitted as in-patients will return to Shrewsbury and Telford and any who are discharged will be discharged from Wolverhampton.

The chief executive of Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust says that the closure at Telford is the result of bad planning and could have been prevented. Does the Minister agree it is wholly unacceptable that my constituents’ safety should be put at risk by a preventable closure that is the result of bad planning by management, and will he do all he can to ensure that the hospital management have the help they need to properly run our hospital and properly plan for the needs of our community?

First, may I pay tribute to my hon. Friend, who has campaigned assiduously on behalf of her constituents? She has lobbied me and the Secretary of State and made her case very powerfully to NHS leaders. There has been progress: three additional consultants have been hired and attempts made to recruit middle-ranking doctors to the trust, including from neighbouring trusts. We are making a significant capital investment in the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, and these changes must be seen in the light of that.

No, no; Yorkshire is the most marvellous place, but it is a considerable distance from the narrow ambit of the question, from which the Minister did not stray. The ingenuity of those Members will be served later in our proceedings.