Areas of beauty under risk from Air Traffic Bill

I WRITE to alert you to the Air Traffic Management Bill, which was introduced into the Lords in January and will resume at report stage in the autumn.

It proposes to open airways to accommodate a huge increase over the next 30 years.

The current tranquillity is temporary.

Airlines UK said last month that “regretfully” 2019 volumes of air traffic will not be achieved till 2023.

This bill clearly contradicts all climate change strategies.

An allied issue, one has discovered, is the lack of protection for Areas of Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks.

In the Shropshire Hills AONB last year we experienced a surge in civil air traffic, for which we have been unable to discover an explanation.

But we discovered that guidance to defend AONB characteristics is wholly ineffective.

We therefore table the need for statutory protection on the lines of the Glover Report, preferably strengthened along the lines of the draft bill from our county councillor.

Peter Phillips,


Hospital Trust’s open letter to readers on maternity service review

I KNOW that you, the communities of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales, care deeply about your local hospitals and the care we provide.

All of us experience important life events in hospitals, from the birth of a loved one, to life-changing surgery or treatment in an emergency.

You have a right to expect the very best care every time you use our services.

However, if things do go wrong, it is the role of the Trust and our staff to learn from any failings, so that we can provide answers to families and patients and improve our care now and in the future.

You will be aware that our maternity services have been under the spotlight for some time.

I know that our standards of care have fallen short for many families and I apologise deeply for this.

An independent review, led by experienced midwife, Donna Ockenden, is looking into cases involving families from our communities.

Today, we know that the total number of families whose cases are being reviewed is 1,862.

I recognise that this will be concerning, both for those families and everyone in our communities, who depend on us for their care.

The review is being taken very seriously by our staff too, who are committed to providing our patients with the highest standards of care and making the necessary further improvements to our maternity services.

There is no doubt that this continues to be a difficult and painful experience for many families and I am truly sorry for their distress.

We should have provided far better care for these families at what was one of the most important times in their lives and we have let them down.

An apology is not enough.

What needs to be seen is evidence of real improvement at the Trust.

This is why we are committed to listening to families, our community, and working with Donna Ockenden’s review to ensure lessons are learned and we have a service which the community and our patients can trust.

We have made some progress in improving the standards of care for mothers and babies and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) now rates our maternity services as ‘good’ across three of the five standards (caring, effective and responsive).

However, we recognise that we have further to go.

One of the things we have learned is that we must be better at listening to everyone who uses our services.

We will work harder at this and create more opportunities for families to tell us about their experiences, allowing us to make positive, clear and tangible improvements, based on what we learn.

Our opportunity to listen and learn should not be confined to the families involved in the Ockenden Review.

Any family not included in the review can come to us at any time to share their experiences or raise any concerns.

You can contact us by emailing or by calling the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01952 641222, extension 4382.

We will continue to work openly with Donna and her team to help families get the answers they need and in turn we will make the necessary improvements.

In the meantime I want to reassure you that we are working hard to deliver the high quality maternity services that the people in our communities rightly deserve.

Louise Barnett,

Chief executive at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust

Step Challenge aims to help life saving research

WE HAVE all felt  the strain of lockdown these past few months, which means that looking after our physical and mental health is extremely important.

At the British Heart Foundation (BHF), we see it as our responsibility to help people to keep their hearts healthy, which is why we’re asking the nation to take on our new Step Challenge now lockdown has eased.

A brisk 20-30 minute daily walk can be a simple way to achieve 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week and can also help improve sleep, reduce stress levels, boost energy and help you get fit.

My Step Challenge has been designed by BHF cardiac nurses so is suitable for all fitness levels, including those with heart and circulatory conditions. 

It is a great way to increase your daily steps whilst raising vitals funds for the BHF’s life saving research.

Like many charities, the coronavirus crisis has devastated our income, costing us around £10 million a month.

We are urging the public to #BackTheBHF and help people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases.

Research suggests that people with these conditions are at higher risk, meaning our work has never been more important.

Barbara Kobson,

British Heart Foundation