15 April 2020

The NHS is currently facing an unprecedented situation regarding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Health services in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin are taking measures to provide the safest care and best possible experience for patients during this time.

From Thursday 16 April, Urgent Care Centres (UCCs) at Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) will temporarily relocate to the Minor Injury Units (MIUs) in Whitchurch and Bridgnorth to form two Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs).

People with major injuries and illnesses, such as head injuries and breathing difficulties should still attend A&E. The Emergency Departments at PRH and RSH remain open and fully operational 24-hours-a-day, however, these changes will allow us to free up capacity to support those with more serious illnesses and injuries who need the level of care offered at hospital.

The two new UTCs will provide treatment for patients where their care needs are urgent, but non-life threatening. In Bridgnorth, the UTC will be open from 9am to 9pm, seven-days-a-week and be staffed by a rota of GPs and doctors and nurses from SaTH. There will be a GP-led service for minor illnesses and injuries including minor cuts, dislocations and back pain. An enhanced service will also be offered in Whitchurch, with opening hours of 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

The county’s other two MIUs, at Ludlow and Oswestry, remain open for minor injuries. The opening hours of these units can be found at www.shropscommunityhealth.nhs.uk/miu. The two MIUs and the new look UTCs at Bridgnorth and Whitchurch offer a walk-in service and do not require appointments or referral. The MIU in Welshpool is currently appointment only and contact details can be found on the Powys Teaching Health Board website.

Dr Arne Rose, Medical Director at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs RSH and PRH, said: “The safety and wellbeing of all of our patients is our priority. These temporary changes will make sure we are looking after patients who need our care for urgent but non-life threatening situations, minor injuries and illnesses, and also those that need more specialist care in our A&E departments.

“We know some patients have expressed concern about taking up the time of our doctors and nurses in our hospitals at this difficult time and we are very grateful for their support. It is very important that people continue to access urgent care when they need it and we hope the availability of the Urgent Treatment Centres encourage them to do so.”

Jane Povey, Medical Director at Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, said: “We would like to thank people in advance for their understanding and reassure them that these changes are temporary. They are being managed in a planned way with the best interests of local people and our staff in mind.”

Patients with coronavirus symptoms should follow the government advice by staying at home and using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do. NHS111 will direct those people with symptoms requiring healthcare support to attend the emergency departments at either of the two hospitals.

Anyone requiring medical assistance outside of the opening hours of the two UTCs and two MIUs should call NHS 111 and in an emergency, 999.

Among other measures taken by SaTH to help reduce the spread of coronavirus are the suspension of visiting at both hospitals and a restriction in the number of entrances open to the public at the two hospitals.

You can play your part by following the Government’s advice:

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Do not meet others, even friends or family that do not live with you

Please remember that you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.