24 April 2020

People should continue to seek medical help when needed, including from their GP practices, Urgent Treatment Centres, Minor Injury Units and the Emergency Departments at Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH).

The Emergency Departments remain open for patients who have suffered a serious injury, severe illness or a medical emergency. Choking, chest pain, blacking out, blood loss and fractures are all considered emergencies and those with these symptoms should not hesitate to visit the Emergency Department.

Dr Arne Rose, Medical Director at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs RSH and PRH, said: “Whilst the general advice is to stay at home as much as possible, and whilst we do have restrictions on visiting to our hospitals, it is important that people who need emergency care get that care as soon as possible. Some people may think that they are doing the right thing by not contacting their GP or not coming to A&E, but they could actually be making things worse for themselves in the long run. Our Emergency Departments are only for serious injury, severe illness or medical emergencies but, throughout this outbreak, they remain open and ready help.

“We are proud to be working in partnership with Powys Teaching Health Board so that the communities we serve in Powys also have access to acute hospital care as we deal with the pandemic.”

Dr Julian Povey, Chair of Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and a local GP, said: “While we know everybody is concerned about coronavirus, it is vital that people still contact their GP if they have any health concerns. GP practices are still operating, and people can make appointments, either online or by calling their practice.

“GP practices are offering telephone or video consultations so that people can seek advice without physically having to go into their practice.”

Dr Jo Leahy, Chair of NHS Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and also a local GP, added: “We’d like to reassure people that the NHS is here for you if you need it. It’s important that people who are feeling unwell or have health concerns do not sit at home worrying about it and they do contact their GP. Don’t leave it – your condition or illness could get worse, leading to more complications later down the line and even a hospital admission.

“If you do need urgent medical help, you should use the NHS 111 online service. If you cannot get help online, call 111. If it’s a serious or life-threatening emergency, call 999.”

Anyone in need of mental health support can contact a 24/7 urgent NHS mental health telephone helpline, set up by Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which is providing support, advice and triage. It is important to note this telephone line is not able to provide advice on Coronavirus symptoms; rather it is for people living in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin seeking urgent mental health telephone support. The number to call is 0300 124 0365.

David Stout, Chief Executive of Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, said: “It is vitally important that people still access our minor injury services if they need them. We understand people may feel uneasy about attending hospital settings because of covid-19, but our staff have really robust measures in place to protect your safety as well as their own.”

The Urgent Care Centres (UCCs) at PRH and RSH have temporarily relocated to the Minor Injury Units (MIUs) in Whitchurch and Bridgnorth to form two Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs). The two new UTCs are providing treatment for patients where their care needs are urgent, but non-life threatening and people with major injuries and illnesses, such as head injuries and breathing difficulties should still attend A&E. The UTC in Bridgnorth is open from 9am to 9pm, seven-days-a-week, and in Whitchurch, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Anyone with Covid-19 related symptoms must contact 111 in the first instance. Patients will be asked a set of questions to ensure that they are referred to the best healthcare professional to help.