As a trust, we are working hard and doing everything we can to provide the best possible care for our patients and reduce waiting times for treatment.

We are all aware of the challenges faced by our health and social care system and together with our partners we are exploring all possible ways of improving any waits.

COVID-19 and shortages of specialist staff have led to a backlog in some of our services, but we always continue to prioritise patients with the greatest clinical need. We are also recruiting more staff.

The Hospitals Transformation Programme (HTP), which will see an upgrade in hospital services, will also see everyone across the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, and mid Wales receive better quality care and face fewer delays for treatment.

HTP also means that patients will be seen faster with a quicker diagnosis and shorter hospital stays.

Under the plans, Princess Royal Hospital in Telford will specialise in planned care with Royal Shrewsbury Hospital specialising in emergency care.

It is really important that we look after the health and wellbeing of all my colleagues and this in turn helps us to provide the best possible care for our patients. I am pleased to say that we have signed the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) ‘Caring for You Charter’, committing to providing a healthy safe working environment for colleagues within Maternity Services.

This is one of the positive steps we are taking to strengthen our commitment to make our Trust an excellent place to work and a safe and compassionate environment in which to give birth.

The charter aims to improve services for women and babies by improving the wellbeing of midwives, maternity support workers and student midwives.

By signing the charter, our Trust is committing to a positive and inclusive culture where staff feel valued, respected and invested in, as well as committing to providing a safe and healthy working environment, taking a zero-tolerance stance on abuse.

The charter was signed by Annemarie Lawrence, Director of Midwifery, and Sarah Ellement, the RCM Health and Safety representative.

Congratulations to my colleague Clare Walsgrove, a Quality Matron, and the rest of her team for being awarded the first bronze medal in the country for their work on the Re-conditioning Games.

The National Reconditioning Games launched at the beginning of this month and our team at the Trust has been working hard to encourage patients, visitors and staff to keep active to stay healthy and prevent muscle wastage.

Due to the effect of lockdowns, we are now seeing our patients coming into hospital much frailer as they haven’t been as active as they previously would have been.

Taster sessions have been held at both our hospitals with patients encouraged to take part in pilates, chair-based exercises and a gym trial.

The fun has been continuing since launch week on our wards with fly swats and balloons used to play tennis and I hear they will also be getting into the festive spirit with Christmas-themed games.