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Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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Local MPs attend Shropshire Ambulance Summit

Local MPs attended an NHS Shropshire Ambulance Summit on Friday along with local authority portfolio holders to review progress made by NHS organisations since the previous Summit held at the start of June.

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) Chief Executive Anthony Marsh co-chaired the meeting with Simon Whitehouse, Chief Executive of NHS Shropshire Integrated Care Board (ICB), the new organisation which came into being from 1st July to integrate healthcare services across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

Representatives of health providers, commissioners and health watch organisations as well as social care attended.

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The meeting discussed steps being taken across the healthcare system in particular in the acute hospitals run by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust to manage the flow of the increasing number of patients attending hospital.

The meeting reviewed presentations of the actions being taken in the immediate and longer term to get the patient-flow back on the trajectory towards meeting national clinical targets for ambulance attendance times, handover times on arrival at hospital, time spent in emergency departments before admission and patient discharge for those medically fit at the other end of their hospital treatment.

Ludlow MP Phillip Dunne said: “We were told that the level of activity for ambulances is broadly flat on pre-covid levels and the proportion of patients conveyed to hospital is lower than normal, at just below 50%.

“Paramedics are doing a great job when they are able to attend emergencies. But the problem is long delays for ambulances when they get to hospital in being able to hand over their patents – for the first two weeks of July, ambulances were waiting, on average, two and a half hours at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and three hours at Princess Royal Hospital.

“This meant that on Monday last week, there were no ambulances available at one point to attend to emergency calls, although thankfully this situation did not recur during the week. It is clearly totally unsatisfactory and everyone involved is aware that our hospitals need to find means of improving the flow of patients to allow the ambulance service to do its job.

“We learned that WMAS has this year recruited fifty extra staff members. We also learned that hospitals are seeing a 10% increase in patients arriving other than by ambulance and the proportion requiring major assistance within the Emergency Department is rising, so more and sicker patients are increasing pressure on hardworking A&E staff.

“The NHS in Shropshire is working hard to improve its procedures to cope with additional patients through its acute hospitals; for example, opening an additional ward last year, and working with social care partners to speed up discharges. In the short term, building social care capacity is crucial. In the medium term, the hospital transformation plan is essential and all MPs have agreed to endorse its strategic outline case due to be reviewed by the Department for Health and NHS England at the end of this month.”

Dunne added, “I am extremely concerned to ensure that we do everything we can to restore effective emergency cover across Shropshire and I am working with NHS and other colleagues to achieve this.”

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