The NHS is under significant pressures from an ageing population, increasing demand, substantial cuts imposed by the government since 2010. Our primary concern is to defend our NHS from the threats of excessive cuts and damaging reorganisation. Improvements in efficiency and savings are important, but not at the cost of increasing risks to patients. Shropshire’s NHS services must be configured in a way that reflects our rural geography. This means facilities and services distributed around the county to be delivered locally, where they are needed. Concentrating all services on a single or small number of sites may be more attractive for clinicians and bureaucrats, but it does not suit the social, economic and physical realities of our county and its communities.
Our key policies are:
- The outcome of the FutureFit process and its proposals to reduce and centralise health services in order to implement government cuts are extremely disappointing.
- We oppose the transfer of Accident and Emergency services from Princess Royal Hospital at Telford to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. It is self-evident that increasing the time it takes to get patients in need of emergency treatment to an A&E will put lives at increased risk. Furthermore, increasing demand and pressure on Shrewsbury’s A&E will undermine the sustainability of emergency care with negative impacts throughout our county.
- We also reject the proposed ‘A&E Local’ experimental model which appears to offer only a limited and part-time accident and emergency facility in Telford.
- We believe an alternative proposal for a new purpose-built A&E located between Shrewsbury and Telford could be explored in greater depth, in particular whether a correct siting could improve access for ‘blue light emergencies’ and reduce travel times.
- Shropshire’s rural Midwife Led Units in Ludlow, Bridgnorth and Oswestry are under threat from downgrading and even closure. New mothers should not be forced into choosing between a home birth and travelling to Shrewsbury or Telford to have their baby. Midwifery is a vital service that in a rural region such as Shropshire needs to be delivered in a distributed manner.
- The Consultant Led Unit at Princess Royal Hospital is sited on purpose-built facilities and should remain there.
- We will fight against the closure of GP surgeries and local medical practices. At a time when primary care services in the community are increasingly under pressure from overcrowding, closures are making a difficult situation worse. We call for urgent investment in expanding local medical centres and building new ones to ensure people can see a doctor when they need to.
- We lament the loss of ShropDoc and the introduction of a centralised NHS 111 to provide vital Out of Hours services as undermining key local service which was trusted and tailored to meet local needs and circumstances. We will support seek the reintroduction of ShropDoc.