Open letter calls for term ‘A&E Local’ to be scrapped following independent panel advice
Leader of the Council, Councillor Shaun Davies, has written an open letter to the Secretary of State for Health, Victoria Atkins MP, and to local and national health leaders, to call for the use of the term ‘A&E Local’ to be scrapped following advice from an Independent Reconfiguration Panel that it is a ‘risk to patient understanding and safety’.
The letter in full
The Rt Hon Victoria Atkins MP
Secretary of State for Health
5 January 2024
Dear Secretary of State,
As you will be aware, Andrew Stephenson MP, Minister for Health, recently confirmed that controversial plans to downgrade emergency care at the Princess
Royal Hospital in Telford should go ahead.
These plans will see Telford and Wrekin’s 24/7 A&E downgraded and consultant-led women and children’s services moved to Shrewsbury.
Clearly, this decision is bitterly disappointing for people in the borough, who will have to live with the consequences for generations to come.
But if these plans are to go ahead, it is now vital that people are helped to understand exactly what care will be available at the Princess Royal – and what will
Calling the future service at the Princess Royal an ‘A&E Local’ – a term coined by Matt Hancock MP in 2019 – is a risk to patient understanding and safety. The
Independent Reconfiguration Panel has been very clear about this in their advice and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine agrees.
The term has been used as a smokescreen in an attempt to soften the blow for people who face living in the largest town in England without a fully functioning A&E.
As part of Future Fit hospital transformation plans, the Princess Royal will be left with an enhanced urgent treatment centre – not an A&E, not an ‘A&E Local’, not an A&E at all.
I write to you to seek assurances that, in line with the Panel’s advice:
- You will stop using the term ‘A&E Local’
- Before implementation of the enhanced urgent treatment centre, a public information campaign and appropriate signage will be in place to ensure people know where to go to receive the right care at the right time and in the right place. This includes information around its clinical leadership and supervision, staffing, opening hours and how it works with other services within the Trust and wider system
- Consideration is given to removing the term from the NHS Long Term Plan to ensure the confusion we have endured in Telford & Wrekin is avoided elsewhere in the country.
Cllr Shaun Davies
Leader - Telford & Wrekin Council