Health and care services have been under extreme pressure over the Christmas and New Year period and there appears to be no easing of the situation.

The pressures across the health and social care system include demand for urgent and emergency care. We have seen rising numbers of COVID and flu cases in our hospitals and the community, which has led to ongoing challenges with colleague sickness.

I would urge everyone who is seeking medical help to choose the best service for their needs.

If anyone is considering attending A&E, please ask yourself if the emergency department is the right place to go for the care you need. If you are not facing a life or limb-threatening emergency please contact NHS 111 or visit NHS Online to find the best service for you – they can book you in if you need to be seen by a Minor Injuries or Emergency Department.

Minor Injury Units, which are located in Bridgnorth, Whitchurch, Ludlow and Oswestry can provide advice and treatment for a variety of minor injuries. You could also consider whether one of the county’s urgent treatment centres, your GP or pharmacist might be able to help you.

With the increase in flu and COVID cases, I would ask you to get vaccinated if you are eligible.  Having our vaccinations is still the best way to protect ourselves and others, both from contracting the viruses, and if you should get either virus from serious illness. For more information about winter vaccination, visit:

Please do not attend our hospitals if you are COVID-19 positive, are showing relevant symptoms, feel unwell or are isolating.

Wearing face coverings and face masks can help reduce the chance of you spreading infection to others, especially in crowded and enclosed spaces, and may protect you from becoming infected by some respiratory viruses.

Another way to help ease the strain on the health and social care system during this busy period is to please pick up friends or relatives from hospital as soon as they are well enough to be discharged and our hospitals have contacted you. This frees up a bed for other patients who need it.

I would like to make a special mention this week to my colleagues for all that they do during these challenging times and in particular those who worked over the Christmas and New Year period. Thank you.

The coming year will see a major milestone in plans to improve services across our two hospital sites with the Hospitals Transformation Programme developing further, more detailed plans for national review in the early summer.

We will be running awareness sessions over the coming weeks and months where you can find out more. To register your interest, please contact