Midlands A&E to close overnight as they can 'no long rely on the goodwill of staff'

The trust says it is the right decision to "safeguard our patients in the current circumstances"

The accident and emergency department at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford is to close overnight.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has decided to suspend overnight services at the Princess Royal Hospital Accident and Emergency Department as it can no longer rely on the 'goodwill' of both medical and nursing staff.

The department will shut from 20:00 to 08:00 for six months.

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Simon Wright, Chief Executive said the decision was "the hardest decision that we have ever had to make" but claims it is the "right one to safeguard our patients in the current circumstances".

He adds; “I want to reassure everyone that we remain committed to providing the safest, kindest quality of care. We also remain committed in our efforts to recruit to our emergency departments, regardless of today’s decision.”

A 'dangerous' and 'reckless' decision.

The Conservative MP for Telford Lucy Allan previously urged the trust to reject the plans and said she would fight the "dangerous" proposal.

Fellow Conservative Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, called on councillors to help stop the "deeply flawed" decision. Adding; "With a rising demand for A&E services, this is a reckless decision".

Both MPs have called for the hospital to be placed into special measures as a result of the decision.

Relying on the 'goodwill of staff'.

Dr Kevin Eardley, Care Group Medical Director for Unscheduled Care, said: “This is not where we want to be but we have been very clear for some time now about the fragility of the EDs at RSH and PRH, and that we cannot continue to operate both sites overnight in the long-term with staffing levels as they are.

“We don’t have enough doctors and nurses to safely staff both of our A&Es 24-hours-a day, seven-days-a-week and, as a result, we are relying on the goodwill of our medical and nursing staff to keep those services running. This has put them under enormous pressure, and is no longer sustainable.

“I want to reassure everyone that our business continuity plans have been under constant review, and robustly tested, to ensure that there will be as little impact on patients as possible.

“We have, and continue to, work closely with our health partners including our commissioners, ambulance services and neighbouring Trusts, on this.”

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