Special Report by Dr Charles West
Public concern is mounting about local NHS services. It has been revealed that the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital missed the government target for 18 week treatment in December and probably missed it in January as well.
As a result of severe winter pressure on beds, surgical admissions have had to be cancelled and some patients have waited for hours for a bed to become available.
What is more the hospital is too full. To allow for efficient running of a hospital the maximum recommended occupancy is 85%. This should allow well-ordered admission and discharge, enable cleaning between patients, and ensure that patients are in the most appropriate ward. The RSH is running at 98.8% occupancy.
And now the Health boss Tom Taylor has resigned. Tom Taylor has seen the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals through a difficult period, but his departure at this time will present additional difficulties for the hospital service locally.
MORE BEDS ARE NEEDED
It is a shocking gap in services that neither Shrewsbury nor Telford has any proper facilities for after-hospital care. Many patients leaving the RSH still need care, but at present there is nowhere for them to go in Shrewsbury. As a result the acute hospitals are close to bursting point. They are lurching from crisis to crisis too full to cope with admissions, too full to give the best care to patients.
When patients are discharged it is families and patients who lose out. To recover from their illness, patients may have to travel to the other end of the county, pay for care in a private nursing home, or to go home before they have made a full recovery.
CUTS IN THE PIPELINE
To make matters worse, it has emerged that there are plans for the new Community Hospital in Ludlow to have only 28 beds instead of the current 40. So Shropshire residents look set to lose even more beds.
I believe that patients deserve better. I am campaigning for community beds in Shrewsbury which would provide medical and nursing care for patients who do not need all the facilities of the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
This would help patients, help families and help to resolve the bed crisis. For more information or to get involved in the campaign please do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
VITAL SERVICES AT RISK
If you burst an artery at the wrong time of the week there will be no service at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital to help you. The reorganisation of Shropshire health services was announced in 2009. Doctors and Health Service Managers agree that it is not possible to provide all services in both Shrewsbury and Telford. They proposed that some services should be concentrated in Telford, other services in Shrewsbury.
The much-publicized campaign by residents in Telford seems to have had an impact and is already affecting services in Shrewsbury.
The resulting compromise has been a fudge that will diminish the service for everyone, and leave Shropshire and Mid-Wales vulnerable.
I feel strongly that Shrewsbury should continue to provide services dealing with major injuries and emergency surgery on blood vessels. I have set up an online petition on my website to make sure that Shrewsbury voices are heard.