IMPASSIONED pleas are being made to health bosses to safeguard vital accident and emergency services.
Oswestry councillors have spoken out on behalf of their constituents to lobby The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to maintain A&E at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital as the Trust plans a clinical services review on the future of its care provision.
Stroke services are also a priority which should be retained at all costs, it was claimed, particularly as the quicker the diagnosis the better the prognosis can be for the patient.
Cllr Paul Milner said: ”I would strongly urge the Trust to maintain A&E at Shrewsbury.
“The journey is hard enough now for people to travel up to Shrewsbury from Oswestry and people are worried that ambulance response times are down already.
“So if they have to wait for an ambulance to Telford it’s going to be really difficult.
“I think a lot of people would choose to take themselves to Wrexham, but that’s just going to put more pressure on the Maelor which already seems to be struggling.”
Cllr Milner acknowledged the new minor injuries unit at Oswestry Health Centre would take some of the strain, but would not be able to help with the more urgent and life-threatening cases.
Mayor of Oswestry, Cllr Chris Schofield, agreed the long distance to Shrewsbury was already a problem and that any downgrade in healthcare provision at the Royal Shrewsbury would be unthinkable.
However, no proposals have yet been aired and the Trust assured the public there would be a full consultation, likely to be in the next few months, before any decisions were made.
Dr Edwin Borman, medical director at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, confirmed some of the key areas that will feature in the debate over the coming months would include critical care and accident and emergency.
“We know that bringing teams together provides greater opportunity for seven-day working and improves clinical outcomes,” he said.
“We know it reduces mortality and disability due to consultant decisions being made closer to the patient’s arrival at hospital.
“And we know that by improving the patient environment we can provide more dignified care and improve patient experience.”