Around 150 residents, former patients and Councillors in the Bishop’s Castle area packed a school hall in the town last night to grill representatives of local health bodies about the future of the town’s community hospital.
Representatives from the Integrated Care Board and Shropshire Community Hospital Trust (ShropCom) answered questions for around 90 minutes about their intentions regarding hospital beds and health care generally in the area.
The 16 beds at Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital were closed in October 2021, because of staff shortages and patient safety concerns.
Local Councillors Heather Kidd, Ruth Houghton and Nigel Hartin arranged the public meeting in the Community College Hall
Cllr Heather Kidd (Shropshire Councillor for Chirbury and Worthen Division) said: “It was pretty clear that the representatives of the Integrated Care Board and Shropcom were shocked at the strength of feeling amongst local residents and irritation about the way that they have handled this.
“As a community, we were promised by Shropcom that they would work with us to try and save our services but this didn’t happen despite the efforts of local Councillors in both Shropshire and Powys to engage.”
Officials from both bodies were subject to some forthright and pertinent questioning from the audience including from local GP Dr Adrian Penny who criticised the half-hearted attempts at recruitment and the lack of imagination.
Ruth Houghton (Shropshire Councillor for Bishop’s Castle Division) concluded: “We made an impact on the officers present. Certainly, they are now promising to change the way they ‘engage’ with the community. As Councillors, we will be urging as many residents as possible to take part in the ‘engagement’ process and we will be using social media and emails as well as hand-delivered leaflets to get this message across.”