16 June 2017
Senior clinicians and hospital leaders today (Friday) met with health partners and patient representatives to continue discussions over the best way of keeping patients safe in the event of fragile services becoming unsustainable.
The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital (PRH), is examining what short-term measures could be taken ahead of a decision by NHS Future Fit, which will define the future of healthcare for generations to come.
Doctors, Nurses and other health professionals in emergency care, critical care and acute medicine, as well as other specialties, are clear about how fragile some of our services are, and it is therefore vital that contingencies are put in place should the continued safe, effective and dignified running of these services become unsustainable because there are not enough staff to provide a safe service 24-hours a day in two A&E departments.
In March SaTH’s Trust Board was told that all options had been explored and the only viable option, should a “tipping point”, where safe services could no longer be maintained, be reached, was the temporary suspension of A&E services at PRH overnight.
As part of SaTH’s contingency planning, Trust leaders – including Doctors, Nurses and support staff –today (Friday) again met with healthcare partners and patient representatives to look into the detail of these proposals and examine why all other options had been ruled out.
It is the third such stakeholder meeting to be held, as part of SaTH’s commitment to open and honest management of its hospitals.
Debbie Kadum, Chief Operating Officer at SaTH, said: “The safety of our patients is our first priority.
“The fragility of our A&E Departments at PRH and RSH is well known, having been discussed by our own Board and in meetings with our partners, as well as being the subject of a great deal of coverage in the media.
“Earlier this year, we discussed at our own Trust Board meeting the steps we have taken to try to improve our situation. However, it would be both irresponsible and dangerous for us not to plan before we reach a crisis point.
“We have proposed that we start planning for an overnight suspension of A&E services at PRH, but as part of that planning it is important that we test the robustness of that decision, which is why we have met with our partners today.
“This is not the end of the process. We will continue to review this, taking every step possible to avoid suspending these services, but if we are unable to recruit or ensure stability for our A&E Departments we will unfortunately be in a position of recommending the need to take action to safeguard our patients.”
Today’s meeting is expected to be the first of a few stakeholder workshops as part of the planning process.