Telford mums urge people to ‘share if you care’ as controversial Future Fit plans reach final stage of approval
Two mums from Telford are urging people to stand up for their local hospital and share how much they value vital emergency care as plans to move the 24 Hour A&E and the Women and Children’s Unit from Telford to Shrewsbury reach the final stage of national approval.
The ‘share if you care’ campaign launched across Telford & Wrekin Council’s social media accounts today following confirmation that the government have given Future Fit plans the green-light and the Outline Business Case has been approved. The Final Business Case is now being prepared.
Louise Lailey-Gough’s daughter Maisie was just 10 when she became seriously ill at home in 2021. With family members having tested positive for COVID, Maisie had caught it too, but over a few days, her health deteriorated and, fearing something was seriously wrong, her family called an ambulance. Maisie was rushed to the Princess Royal, where the emergency medical team saved her life.
Louise said: “When the ambulance crew arrived, Maisie was really ill. Her eyes were rolling and her lips had started to go blue. We couldn’t wake her up.
“It was the ambulance crew who noticed the ‘pear drop’ smell in her breath and tested her blood sugar, suspecting she was having a diabetic seizure.
“They were right and they rushed her to the Princess Royal where a resus and paediatric team were already waiting. They literally had to cut her clothes off to treat her.
“The crew told me that if we hadn’t phoned when we did, we could have lost her. The journey to the Princess Royal is about 20 minutes from here. If she had to travel to Shrewsbury, I’m not sure she would be with us today.
“Maisie has now been diagnosed as being type 1 diabetic and she’s insulin dependent. She relies on the children’s diabetes clinic at the Princess Royal and on having an A&E close by in any emergency. Her life quite literally depends on it.
Tina Westerman, who lives in Sutton Hill, experienced the challenges of caring for her seriously ill son who was being treated in Shrewsbury.
John was just five when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in 1978. At that time, the dedicated Women and Children’s Unit at the Princess Royal had not yet been built and John’s treatment involved gruelling weekly journeys to Shrewsbury and back by bus.
Tina said: “We would get on the bus to go to Shrewsbury at 8:30 in the morning and get back at 5:00pm, all for an hour’s appointment with the doctor.
“We did this every Tuesday for six years – check-ups, blood tests and chemo. It had a huge impact on our lives. Not just for me and John, but for my daughter as well. She had to be cared for by friends and family whilst we made the long journey to and from Shrewsbury.
“I don’t like the plans to move the Women and Children’s Unit to Shrewsbury. It won’t be an improvement for people. There are lots of people who will end up having to do what I did all those years ago.”
Tina’s son John sadly passed away in 2020 from a brain tumour.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Shaun Davies (Labour) said: “Hearing Louise and Tina’s stories is heart-breaking. My own mum had a similar experience to Tina when my brother was born prematurely. She spent hours on the bus every day just to be with him in the hospital in Shrewsbury. It’s one of the reasons I feel so passionately about fighting the Future Fit plans.
“How can moving vital emergency care to Shrewsbury benefit people in our borough? This is not setting us up for the future – it’s sending us back to the 70’s and 80’s.”
People who would like to support the ‘share if you care’ campaign can do so by sharing Maisie and John’s stories from the council’s Facebook, X and Instagram accounts and adding their own stories too.