County health community launches debate on hospital services

Health and care services across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin are set to lead a debate with patients and communities across the county about the best model of care for hospital services.

The debate will focus on how we provide excellent and sustainable acute and community hospital services that meet the needs of both our urban and rural communities.

Within our hospitals there is clear evidence that if patients have quicker access to senior clinical decision makers then that is better for their outcomes and their safety.  We need to understand how our services measure up and what the gaps are:

  • The need to move to more Consultant-delivered services operating seven days a week, and with less reliance on junior and middle grade doctors.
  • The need to be able to invest in the latest technologies to ensure the best diagnosis and treatment for our patients.
  • The growing demands of an ageing society, the rise in long-term conditions, and the vital importance of ensuring that services are available in the community to support people to maintain their independence and receive their care as close to home as possible rather than seeing finite public resources propping up a model of hospitals that needs to change.

David Evans, Chief Officer for Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

"Within Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin we have a dual challenge in terms of rising demand for services.

It is accepted that older people and children use more health resources and, while people in Shropshire are older on average, Telford is experiencing an influx of younger people with children.  We need to find a safe and sustainable model of care that meets these contrasting needs now and in the future."

Peter Herring, Chief Executive of The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said:

"Nationally and locally, we face some key challenges in ensuring we have got the right workforce to deliver safe, 24-hour care seven days a week.

We know that the cost of investing in duplicated services in our two main hospitals reduces opportunities to invest in strengthening community services.

We need to embark on a period of engagement with the public, staff and partners over the next six to nine months before we draw any conclusions.

No proposals have been put forward at any stage about any service, and no decisions have been made."

Dr Edwin Borman, Medical Director at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said that some of the key areas that will feature in the debate over the coming months included Critical Care and Accident & Emergency.

Dr Borman added:

"We know that bringing teams together provides greater opportunity for seven-day working and improves clinical outcomes.

We know it reduces mortality and disability due to consultant decisions being made closer to the patient’s arrival at hospital.

We know that by improving the patient environment we can provide more dignified care and improve patient experience."

Julia Bridgewater, Interim Chief Executive of the Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, believes it is important that the debate also focuses on how we can make better use of community hospitals and community services.

"Patients benefit from having the right services closer to home,"

added Mrs Bridgewater.

"Community teams can be more effective with closer working and integration with social care, the voluntary sector and other partners.

We need to find the best model for acute and community hospital services and community health teams in relevant services.  The challenge needs radical solutions, not more of the same."

Dr Caron Morton, Accountable Officer for Shropshire CCG, said:

"Together, we all need to make sure that our health services are meeting national standards for the future.

There are no simple solutions and that is why we are determined to involve the whole community in the debate, in order to come up with a model that meets the expectations and needs of both urban and rural communities.

Over the coming weeks we will be developing plans so that patients and communities across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin are fully engaged in shaping safe and sustainable services for the future."