Plea to Government - lift agency cap to help stop A&E overnight closure
The leader of Telford & Wrekin Council has urged the Secretary of State for Health and a leading NHS body to allow The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) to lift a cap on what it can pay agency staff to help it recruit urgently needed middle grade agency doctors and nurses.
The move could help prevent the planned overnight closure of Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital’s (PRH) A&E department.
Cllr Shaun Davies says he believes the restrictions imposed on SaTH are preventing the Trust from securing agency middle grade doctors and nurses it desperately needs.
The Trust is planning the overnight closure of PRH’s A&E for at least six months because it doesn’t have enough middle grade A&E doctors and nurses. It is expected the closure will come into force in December.
Cllr Davies has written to Secretary of State Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP and NHS Improvement asking them to urgently lift the cap because of the exceptional circumstances faced at the PRH.
Cllr Davies said: “The situation at the PRH is, by the Trust’s own admission, wholly avoidable. With more middle grade A&E doctors and nurses, the planned overnight closure of A&E can be prevented.
“Everyone accepts that agency staff are not a longer term solution, but easing this nationally imposed cap on agency staff at this level would buy time to allow permanent staff to be recruited.
“The Council is working with SaTH now on a range of incentives to make the PRH more attractive to new recruits.
“For example, with great support from many businesses in Telford, we’re refurbishing onsite accommodation at PRH to offer to new A&E doctors to help them settle here. We are also discussing potential longer term accommodation through the Council owned housing company NuPlace.
“In addition, we’ve visited the Indian Consul and created a special package to help attract more of the key staff needed from the Commonwealth to come and work here. We have a great offer.
“We now need the Secretary of State and NHS Improvement to join us and play their part and do all we can together to prevent the overnight closure of PRH’s A&E.”
To date almost 32,000 people have signed an online Government petition calling for a Government rescue plan to prevent the overnight closure of PRH’s A&E, while on Sunday more than 3,000 people marched through Wellington to fight the planned closure at PRH.