21 December 2022

Health and Care services across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin are under extreme pressure. Health and care leaders are urging people to do their bit to help support services by choosing the best service for their needs if they are ill or injured over the busy festive period.

Rising Covid-19 numbers, high demand for services and ongoing challenges with workforce sickness are all contributing to pressure on the system. As a result, the health and care system will need to take additional steps to prioritise emergency care and maintain safe services for patients.

Patients with the highest level of need will be prioritised, this could mean non-urgent services are postponed and routine operations are rescheduled. Cancer and other critical operations will continue to be prioritised. If you are not contacted directly about an operation being postponed, please continue to attend your appointment as usual.

Alison Bussey, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said: “We are appealing to our communities to only come to A&E for life threatening conditions and injuries. We urge you not to call 999 or attend A&E unless it’s an emergency: NHS 111 online can help you find where to get help and support.

“Minor Injury Units located in Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Oswestry and Whitchurch – can help give advice and treatment for a variety of minor injuries such as sprains and strains.

“If you have a relative or loved one in hospital who is well enough to go home but is waiting to be discharged with homecare and community health support, you may be able to help them get home quicker if you and your family can support them at home.

“We are working extremely hard to ensure people are kept safe and would like to reassure the public that despite the challenges faced, our services remain open for anyone who needs them. Please help us to help you and those you love.”

Here’s how you can help:

  • Please consider whether you do need to attend an emergency department or call 999. If it’s not a life-threatening emergency there are other places to seek help.
  • Use NHS 111– online or by phone if you need advice or medical treatment quickly. If you need to be seen by a Minor Injuries or Emergency Department they can book you in.
  • Minor Injury Units (MIUs) are there to help with injuries that need attention urgently but are not critical or life threatening. There are four MIUs in the county, open 8am to 8pm, located in Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Oswestry and Whitchurch. For more information visit: Community hospitals and health centres in Shropshire
  • Please pick up friends or relatives from hospital as soon as they are well enough to be discharged and the hospital have contacted you. This frees up a bed for other patients who need it.
  • Use your local pharmacist for minor conditions such as upset stomachs, earache, skin rashes and for relief of coughs and colds. Find a pharmacy near you: Find a pharmacy – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
  • Get vaccinated against Covid-19 and flu if you are eligible. Vaccination will protect not only yourself but others around you.
  • Stay at home and particularly don’t visit hospitals if you have symptoms of an infectious illness such as Covid-19, flu or norovirus (known as the winter vomiting bug). Remember hands, face, space.
  • For concerns about Strep A, please see the latest guidance at nhs.uk/conditions/strep-a/
  • Mental health crisis helpline – urgent mental health support is available 24/7 on 0808 196 4501.

Sara Biffen, Acting Chief Operating Officer for The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Our hospitals continue to experience extreme pressure and we are doing everything we can to deliver safe care for patients. This includes, where appropriate, asking patients to only be accompanied by one person when attending our Emergency Departments to maximise space.

“We would like to thank patients and their relatives for their ongoing support as we continue to prioritise patients with the most critical needs.

“Our teams, and partners, are continuing to work incredibly hard; and we would like to reassure patients that essential services remain fully open for those who need them. If you need urgent medical help, please continue to phone 111.”