Saturday, 26 February 2011

Two Midlands Hospitals Could Become Unsafe

Health Chiefs at Shrewsbury Hospital say change is needed

By Ben Aulakh

Health chiefs at two Shropshire’s Hospitals are warning that major services are ‘vulnerable’, and could become potentially ‘unsafe’, unless key changes are made.

They say that unless they make some ‘difficult decisions’, some key services at The Royal Shrewsbury and Princess Royal hospitals may be lost to larger units elsewhere.

A number of complex gynaecology and gastro-intestinal cancer surgeries have been taken away from the two hospitals in recent years, due to government directives.

Senior staff fear that if this trend continues, provision may ‘decline and reach crisis point’ in the near future.

A public consultation is currently being held until March 14; managers are hoping to get people’s views on what key care they want provided at each of the two hospitals.

Statements on a website, dedicated to the consultation say that, “Some of the more complex gynaecology cancer and upper gastro-intestinal cancer surgeries have been lost.

“This was because we could not demonstrate that we met nationally-set standards for providing these services, so they were moved to larger centres.”

“It is therefore entirely possible that other local, high quality clinical services in our county are at risk of a similar fate.”

The Primary care Trust are also worried that if services at each of the hospitals continue to decline, they may lose their licence to provide that particular type of care at each site.

They also say that the current Maternity Unit at the Royal in Shrewsbury is in an extremely poor state, and may not be suitable for providing the necessary standard of care in the future.

Management say that their preferred option is for key services to be moved from one hospital to the other, depending on which can provide each type of care to the highest standard.

The PCT has ruled out the possibility of combining both hospitals into one brand new, building, citing the current economic climate as the reason for this decision.

People can have their say on the consultation by filling in an online questionnaire at www.ournhsinshropshireandtelford.nhs.uk, or via email on ournhsinsat@nhs.net.

Alternatively you can call 01952 580 478, or 0800 032 1107.


Photograph by John Firth

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