Category: Health

Tories chuck inquiry into ambulance crisis into the long grass

The inquiry will never happen now. A motion for an inquiry into the current ambulance crisis was kicked into touch today by Shropshire Council Conservatives. A wrecking amendment was presented by Dean Carrol, he is the Conservatives’ chief attacker of everything from the opposition even though he does not have the health remit. The amendment was backed by council leader Lezley Picton who seems to live in different bubble to the rest of us believing everything is being done while nothing much is being done. This was an occasion when Shropshire Council could have shown leadership across the community at a time of crisis in our health services. Instead, the Tory leaders whinged and bleated. Tory councillors voted like sheep – they are told how to vote at council and are punished if they disobey. The result is that the only body that can lead the inquiry we urgently need has abdicated responsibility. No. It’s worse than that. It has abdicated leadership. This is a Conservative council that administrates. Writes policies that are like cotton wool. Dreams of reconstructing Shrewsbury town centre and building grand new roads. But it can’t cope with the crisis of our times. Health. As exemplified…

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Covid Watch 179: Cases fall as testing begins to plummet but hospitals still in critical condition

Cases in England and in Shropshire are continuing to fall. We must though be cautious about numbers after the government withdrew free testing and closed testing centres across the country at the end of last month. In Shropshire, for example, PCR testing dropped by more than 70% in a week. However, it seems clear that the trend continues to be downwards. Despite Omicron being milder than the previous Delta variant of Covid-19, the number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 in Shropshire has been rising rapidly in recent weeks. That, along with higher than normal levels of staff sickness, has led the county’s health managers or declare the fourth critical incident this year, an incident that is now entering its second week. The queues of ambulances backing up outside the county’s A&E departments is at an all time high, with half of ambulance crews waiting more than an hour to hand over their patients.

Helen Morgan MP: Shropshire ambulance handover times criticised in Commons debate

Helen Morgan, MP for North Shropshire, secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons last Thursday as MPs departed to their constituencies and beyond for the Easter recess. Excluding the deputy speaker, there were just five MPs present. Philip Dunne, Daniel Kawczynski and Mark Pritchard were conspicuous by their absence. Lucy Allen, Tory MP for Telford, did attend. On the day of the debate, NHS England published data showing that ambulance handover times at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princes Royal Hospital were among the highest in the country. In the last four months: 51% of ambulances have been delayed for 30 minutes or more at the two SaTH hospitals compared to 21% across England 28% of ambulances have been delayed for 60 minutes or more at SaTH compared to 9% across England.  In recent weeks, handover delays of 30 minutes or more have risen to 62%.

Regular pharmacy closures in Ludlow are bad for people’s health

A few days ago, Boots was closed all day. Lack of pharmacist. A few days before that, Lloyds was closed all day. Lack of pharmacist. Yesterday, Brown and Francis was closed except for emergencies. These are not isolated incidents. There have been a dozen or more closures this year. Often, they are all day. Sometimes there is hope that a pharmacist will arrive in the afternoon. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. In any event, people who don’t live in the town centre can’t keep dropping back to see if the pharmacy is open. This is not like shopping for a tin of beans. For many people, medication is vital and must be administered daily or more often. A gap in taking pills, injections or inhalers could have serious health consequences. The root of the problem is a nationwide shortage of trained pharmacists and technicians. The recent surge in Covid-19 cases has also exacerbated staff shortages. In rural areas like Ludlow, with our smaller pharmacies, the lack of a pharmacist always leads to the outlet being closed. Are we worse than elsewhere? It is difficult to judge but the Company Chemists’ Association said in November, temporary and permanent closures of community pharmacies…

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Bernie Bentick on the culture at SaTH and the Ockenden Maternity Review

The Ockenden Report, to be published this morning, was commissioned by Jeremy Hunt in 2017 after the parents of babies who died in the care of Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust (SATH) were distraught about the uncaring response of staff to their bereavement. Concerns were also raised about the numbers of preventable baby deaths. The Ockenden review, which investigated 1,862 cases, will add to several recent reports detailing catastrophic failures within other NHS Trusts. This article sets out the wider context for the failures at SaTH and makes recommendations for improvements to the way that care and safeguarding is managed across the NHS.

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