12 August 2022
A message from Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Integrated Care System (STW ICS)
The health and care system in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin has declared a critical incident due to continued and unprecedented pressure on its services across all its settings.
We are seeing significant and sustained levels of demand for all health and care services across the area. There are still relatively high numbers of patients in hospital and community beds with Covid-19, there are high numbers of patients arriving at our hospitals for other conditions and we have a high level of staff sickness across several different settings. This, in conjunction with the additional challenges caused by the continued heat wave, is causing a significant strain on the health and care system.
As a result, partners across the health and care system are taking additional steps to prioritise and maintain safe services for patients. Our aim is to prioritise patients with the highest level of need and ensure that we continue to be able to manage emergency care. We also need to ensure that we can continue to provide safe care for all our patients across our community settings and for those in nursing and residential homes.
We regret that it has been necessary to take this step, but it is important that we focus on patients needing urgent and emergency care as a priority.
Our teams are continuing to work exceptionally hard, and we would like to reassure the public that despite the challenges faced, our services remain open for anyone who needs them.
This critical incident is an indication of the serious pressure the system is facing. We are working extremely hard to ensure people are kept safe but there are ways that you can help.
What you can do to help
- Only call 999 or attend A&E departments for serious accidents and for genuine emergencies.
- When you need urgent medical care but it’s not an emergency, please visit NHS 111 online or call NHS111 for advice on how to get the care you need at any time of day or night.
- Minor Injury Units – if your injury is not serious, you can get help from a minor injury unit (MIU). This will allow A&E staff to concentrate on people with serious, life-threatening conditions and will save you a potentially long wait. There are four MIUs in the county located at Bridgnorth Community Hospital, Ludlow Community Hospital, Oswestry health Centre and Whitchurch Community Hospital. For more information visit Community hospitals and health centres in Shropshire
- Urgent Care Centres – at both the Princess Royal Telford and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital – these centres can help provide assessments and treatment if you need help with a health problem that is urgent, but not life-threatening. The centres offer appointments that can be booked through NHS111 or through a GP referral. They are equipped to diagnose and deal with many of the most common ailments people attend A&E for. There is also a walk-in service and is open 365 days a year 9am to 9pm. No appointment needed.
- Mental health crisis helpline – urgent mental health support is available 24/7 on 0808 196 4501.
- Stay safe and be sensible in the current hot weather
- For other non-urgent cases, when you need medical advice and it’s not an emergency, please contact your GP practice or a pharmacist.
- Pharmacists are experts in medicine who can help you with minor health concerns. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains. If symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need and can signpost you to see a GP or other healthcare professional. Find a pharmacy near you: Find a pharmacy – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Please continue to treat all NHS and care staff with the respect they deserve. Our hard-working staff and volunteers are doing all they can to keep patients safe and supported.
- If you cannot make any NHS appointment, please contact the number on your appointment letter so that it can be reallocated to another patient.
- Make sure you wash your hands and wear a mask when visiting health care settings in order to protect the public and our own staff from Covid-19.
- If you are eligible and have not already, please make sure you have had all of your Covid-19 vaccinations.