31 January 2019

A former nurse who opposed plans for the reconfiguration of Shropshire’s acute hospitals changed her opinions after engaging with the Trust that runs them.

Joan Pumford, a graduate of the Trust’s People’s Academy.

Joan Pumford signed up for The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s People’s Academy last year and, having had the chance to go on behind-the-scenes tours and ask questions of staff, she is now fully in favour of the transformation of healthcare in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales under the NHS Future Fit scheme.

The Joint Committee of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) approved Option 1 of the plans on Tuesday night, which means the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford will become a dedicated Planned Care site and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) will become a specialist Emergency Care site.

This will allow specialist doctors to treat the most serious cases on the Emergency Care site, which is proven to be safer, provide better results for patients and reduce the amount of time people have to stay in hospital.

By having a separate Planned Care site, patients will wait less time for their appointments and beds would be protected for planned operations, meaning that is highly unlikely operations will be cancelled due to emergency admissions. In addition, patients will be able to access 24-hour urgent care services at both hospitals. This means that the vast majority of patients will continue to go to the same hospital as they do now for emergency and urgent care.

This landmark decision will result in better care for patients, secure the £312 million from HM Treasury and develop both hospital sites to deliver state-of-the-art facilities in which staff will be proud to work and patients will choose to be treated.

Joan said: “As a former nurse, I have always taken a keen interest in our hospitals and initially I did not agree with the Future Fit plans.

“Following a talk at the Telford Diabetes UK group meeting, my husband and I signed up to attend the People’s Academy. By the time I graduated, my opinion had completely changed.

“I now understand the reasoning behind plans to develop and improve healthcare services in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales, and would urge everyone with an interest in our hospital services – regardless of how they feel—to go through the People’s Academy programme.

“I got the chance to hear directly from doctors and nurses about why the Trust needs to change the way it delivers services. They explained to me why emergency and planned care needs to be separated, and after listening to the professionals who live and breathe the job every day, I started to agree.

“We are very fortunate to have received the funding to put these changes in place, and now we need to make sure we all pull together to make our hospitals the best they can be. We want our hospitals to be hospitals that people from other parts of the country are envious of, and where medical staff want to come and work.”

The People’s Academy induction includes four sessions run over four weeks.

The sessions include presentations, behind the scenes visits, demonstrations, activities and opportunities to ask questions of senior Trust staff.

Enrolment to the Academy is completely free, and you will be given information about how to continue your involvement with the Trust if you choose to.

For further information about the People’s Academy and to sign up please visit https://www.sath.nhs.uk/working-with-us/academy/