Overnight closure plan of PRH A&E is "downgrade by backdoor"

Telford & Wrekin Council has called Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust’s (SATH) recommendation of overnight closure of the Princess Royal Hospital’s A&E service as early as September the effective downgrading of the hospital via the backdoor.

Overnight closure plan of PRH A&E is "downgrade by backdoor"

A paper to SATH’s board on Thursday recommends a plan that in the next year would see A&E services at the PRH ceasing and the A&E unit downgraded to an “urgent care centre” overnight.

This plan contradicts the argument that the Trust has already made that the £28 million Women & Children’s Centre at PRH which opened just over two years ago must be on the same site as an A&E unit. Under this overnight closure plan the Women & Children’s Centre would remain in Telford.

The Council says the recommendation makes no sense because:

  • the A&E unit, while operating alongside with Women and Children’s Centre and stroke services by day, would be apart by night
  • there appears to be no plan on how to deal with these patients in Telford when the emergency specialist services are in Shrewsbury overnight
  • their plan also appears to assume other parts of the NHS such as the ambulance service and GPs would be able to treat some of these overnight A&E cases. 

Cllr Shaun Davies council leader said: “We will fight this tooth and nail – allowing to go ahead it will effectively start the downgrading of our hospital by the backdoor.

“How can it make sense? The PRH is at the heart of the area’s biggest population which also has the greatest health needs.

“Clinical safety and business continuity are being used by SaTH to steamroller through a change that they know they cannot get through by other means.

“I believe this has always been SaTH’s agenda to sort out problems within the RSH site at the expense of the population of Telford and Wrekin and the huge swathes of Shropshire for whom the PRH is their hospital.

“SaTH have themselves said that the public should be consulted on any changes to hospital services yet in the next breath are seeking to railroad through their preferred option.

“The issues SaTH cite are of their own making and I have received many reports of a culture at SaTH that is overbearing. For example, for all the Trust’s talk of engaging stakeholders, it hasn’t had the courtesy of telling key partners such as this Council of the detail of this plan.

“I believe if SaTH’s board backs this recommendation tomorrow it is time for a No Confidence motion in SaTH and I shall be contacting be the secretary of State for Health urging him to intervene and place this Trust in special measures.

“Such a plan sadly comes as no surprise from a Trust of whose 12 Board members only one is resident in Telford and Wrekin.”

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