Council health chiefs in Wolverhampton join campaign against A&E closure
Council health chiefs in Wolverhampton have joined a campaign to stop the temporary closure of Telford’s Accident and Emergency department – amid fears it will lead to hundreds of extra hospital admissions in Wolverhampton every month.
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust agreed in September that the Accident and Emergency department at the Princess Royal Hospital would close overnight for a period of at least six months, saying it cannot continue to rely on the "goodwill of staff" to keep patients safe.
Telford & Wrekin Council, which has launched the campaign to fight the closure, says that over 700 people per month would have to travel to other hospitals – including New Cross – to attend Accident and Emergency if the closure went ahead.
In addition, it estimates that around 270 adult and 60 child admissions would be diverted to New Cross every month.
Over 28,000 people have already signed a petition – available at www.bit.ly/prhtelford – calling on the Government to “organise a rescue plan to prevent the avoidable overnight closure of Princess Royal Hospital’s A&E”. In addition, campaigners are organising a protest march in Wellington on Sunday 4 November.
The overnight closure is expected to begin on 5 December, from 10pm-8am each night.
Councillor Hazel Malcolm, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "This is clearly a difficult situation which we believe will have a significant impact upon services at New Cross Hospital and is potentially detrimental to the safety and care of local people.
"We know that the Accident and Emergency department at New Cross is already under additional pressure as a result of recent changes at Stafford’s County Hospital, where the A&E is already closed at night.
"In addition, the temporary overnight closure of Telford's Accident and Emergency department is planned for the winter months, which is by far the busiest time for hospitals.
"We are closely monitoring the situation and the ongoing discussions that are being held between our partners at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust."
Councillor Roger Lawrence, the Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council and chair of Wolverhampton’s Health and Wellbeing Together board, will be joining the protest march on 4 November and is urging residents to back the campaign.
He said: "The closure of Telford A&E overnight for at least six months has major implications for health care provision in Wolverhampton – on top of the winter pressures we will be inevitably facing.
“I would call on residents who are concerned by this ill-conceived decision to join the campaign to prevent it happening, both by signing Telford & Wrekin Council's petition and by joining the protest march next month."
For more details of Telford & Wrekin Council’s campaign, please visit http://nhs4all.co.uk.