Royal Shrewsbury Hospital – MP in a muddle

Editor,
I am sorry to have to intervene in a clash between Conservative colleagues (Shropshire Star 6th March), but Daniel Kawczynski’s remarks about the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) were inaccurate, out of date and most unfortunate.`

For a good few years Royal Shrewsbury Hospital charges were lower than most in the country. This made it easier for Shropshire County PCT to balance the books, but left the RSH short of money. When the National tariff rates were introduced the income for RSH increased significantly, but there was initially a difference between the rates paid by Wales and those paid by England. Last year the Strategic Health Authority stepped in to bridge the gap and it is now agreed that RSH will receive the same fee for patients treated regardless of where they live. Welsh patients, however, have to wait longer for treatment than English patients.

Welsh support for the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital over the years has been invaluable. It is quite wrong to say that RSH loses £2 million a year from Welsh patients, more accurate would be to say that it receives £17 million per year. RSH derives almost 10% of its income from Wales and  without the steady flow of patients and money from Wales the very viability of RSH would be in question.

I am sure that our MP meant well, but he should really be more careful about what he says. 

Additional information for our own records:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/mid/7919146.stm

http://www.shropshirestar.com/2009/02/27/mp-tells-of-welsh-woe/

There was a gap of £1.8M between what RSH would have received had the Welsh authorities paid the same rate as the English ones, but for 2008/9 the Strategic Health Authority lent SATH NHS Trust that money. From April 2009 the Welsh Authorities will pay the same rate.

RSH receives just under 10% of it’s work from Wales. It receives £17million.

If this custom were withdrawn SATH would have close 10 wards

With the current usage of the various hospitals in Shropshire there is a strong case for full provision of services in Shrewsbury, as their removal would mean journeys of well over an hour to the nearest hospital for patients living in the most westerly parts of Shropshire and large parts of Mid Wales. Telford residents have Telford hospital and beyond that Wolverhampton or Shrewsbury at 25 minutes and Stafford at 35 minutes. without the Welsh patients there is a real risk that the Telford lobby would drown out the claims of the few isolated inhabitants of western Shropshire.

RJAH gets 30% of its trade from Wales.

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