Shrewsbury’s Consultant Maternity unit may close.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust are proposing to move Consultant Maternity and Neonatal Paediatric care from Shrewsbury to Telford in a bid to create a centre of excellence for women’s services. This would mean that women who need consultant maternity care would need to travel to Telford. Younger mothers with normal pregnancies would not be affected; both hospitals would continue to have midwife-led maternity units for normal deliveries.

Those from the West and South West of the County, who would drive through Shrewsbury and on to the Princess Royal Hospital, face an increased journey time of 15-20 minutes. Patients from Mid-Wales will also have further to travel – their major hospital is the Royal Shrewsbury.

Dr Charles West, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Campaigner for Shrewsbury and Atcham, said “Hospital services in Shropshire certainly need to be improved. The ideal-world solution would be a single new hospital on the East side of Shrewsbury serving all communities from Telford, Shropshire and Mid-Wales. We all know money is tight at the moment, however, so the second best would be to concentrate emergency surgical services in Shrewsbury and to concentrate day surgery in Telford, with both hospitals having outpatients, medical beds and Accident and Emergency departments. The current proposals would put emergency gynaecology in one hospital and emergency general and vascular surgery in the other. These specialties sometimes need support from one another, not least because at the time of a patient’s admission the diagnosis is often not certain. To split emergency surgery between Shrewsbury and Telford is neither the best clinical solution, nor is it the most efficient way to run the service.”

Cllr Heather Kidd, Lib Dem Parliamentary Campaigner for Ludlow, said “Just looking at a map shows you that for most of the county all the main roads lead to Shrewsbury – not Telford. Public transport all goes there too. We already have babies born en route to the Royal Shrewsbury, how many more will this happen to with the extra journey time? What extra risk will there be? At present the whole of Telford is within 30 minutes of a consultant obstetric unit. If Shrewsbury were to lose its consultant maternity then parts of West Shropshire and Mid-Wales would be more than an hour from their nearest consultant unit. We need to think about more than sharing out services, we must think about the people who use them, and where they come from, too.”

The proposal is now officially the subject of consultation.

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