Extended closure of rural maternity units is an excuse to close them permanently – it’s wrong

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust today announced that the rural maternity units at Ludlow, Oswestry and Bridgnorth are to remain closed for births indefinitely. This decision has been made ahead of a public consultation on the future of the MLUs. It is obvious that SaTH intends to close the three MLUs permanently. It claims that 98% of women are “choosing” to give birth elsewhere. Of course this is so. The rural MLUs are rarely open for births.

This has been a cynical exercise to shut the MLUs by stealth.

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A&E consultation: The NHS is asking people to play Russian roulette with their health

The Shropshire Councillors for Ludlow and Clee are backing Option 1 for Future Fit. But they warn that asking people to choose to choose a single A&E for Shropshire is like asking them to play Russian Roulette with people’s lives.

Faced with the choice between Option 1, with the A&E based in Shrewsbury, and Option 2, which would see the single A&E site in Telford, they are backing Option 1.

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Future Fit consultation launches: It’s time to decide the future of Shropshire’s hospitals

We have been waiting for this, even dreading this, for a long time. Way back in 2013, health managers announced that the county’s health services were to be reshaped. Not long after, they said that one of the A&Es would close under the Future Fit programme. Controversy has been raging since.

Today, the Clinical Commissioning Groups launched a major consultation on reorganising services at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princes Royal Hospital. They are asking whether the A&E should be in Telford or Shrewsbury. If the A&E is in Shrewsbury, which is what the CCGs want, planned care will be in Telford. And vice versa if the A&E is in Telford. Health managers are not giving the choice of retaining two A&Es but there is an open comment box in the response form where this point can be made.

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A big change is coming to 999 ambulance services in Ludlow – response times will grow

From the end of May, ambulances and paramedics will no longer work out of Ludlow. We don’t have a formal ambulance station here but staff are based at Ludlow Community Hospital between call-outs. Even then, only 28% of top priority calls get a 999 team arriving within eight minutes in the SY7 area. The response time is 18 minutes on average. Sometimes it takes an hour.

Quick response times are crucial in saving lives and preserving the quality of life. Several minutes will be added to response times when the 999 crews move to Craven Arms.

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Should we have an A&E unit in Shrewsbury or Telford or in both towns? Vote now…

If there must be just one A&E for Telford and Wrekin, Shropshire and mid-Wales, where should it be located? At the Princes Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford or the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH)?

This will be the main question asked in the Future Fit consultation on the future of Shropshire health services. We are expecting that to be launched in the next few weeks. There is a third option, that we keep both A&Es, though that will not an option health bosses will put forward in the forthcoming consultation.

Let us know your views by voting below.

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