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Closing ambulance base would 'put lives at risk'

BBC Radio Stoke

Lives will be lost if a town's community ambulance hub is shut, a former paramedic's told the BBC.

West Midlands Ambulance Service wants to remove the response base in Cheadle, Staffordshire, by the end of March.

Ambulance base in Cheadle
Google

Instead, it wants to convert the rapid response vehicle there into an ambulance as it says the current vehicle only attends 2.2% of calls in the area.

But former paramedic Carole Winning told BBC Radio Stoke she believes lives are at stake: "They're saying they'll have an ambulance here but they won't because they're so busy, they'll never get here."

Cheadle Town Councillor Dave Sargeant said it would take longer for ambulances to respond: "You've got areas like Whiston, Ipstones, Foxt. These are difficult places to get to and, if you think of somebody coming from Newcastle to Cheadle, a minimum time to get here, it's going to be 25 minutes."

The ambulance service said it believed the move would save money and would not change the level of ambulance cover in the area, "if anything, this will increase over the coming months".

Your weather: Much colder and clearer than of late

BBC Weather

It will be a cold night with clear periods and lows of -1C (30F).

A mostly dry and fine day can be expected tomorrow with lengthy periods of sunshine.

Napton-on-the-Hill
BBC Weather Watchers/Steve Blackman

You can find a detailed weather forecast for your area on the BBC Weather site.

Maternity scandal: 'Problems not in the past'

BBC Shropshire

A father who pushed for an independent review into the maternity scandal at hospitals in Shropshire says he's convinced more families will contact the investigation.

Rhiannon Davies with daughter Isabella and husband Richard
Richard Stanton
Rhiannon Davies with daughter Isabella and husband Richard

A debate in the House of Commons yesterday heard more than 900 had already contacted the review, led by Donna Ockenden.

The probe is focusing on claims a number of babies and mothers died or were harmed in the care of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust.

Richard Stanton and his wife Rhiannon Davies, whose baby Kate died in 2009, were among the families who first pushed for the independent inquiry.

"We have had families approach us saying the care that they had at maternity services at that trust last year was so bad that they want to be put in touch with the Ockenden review, so I'm absolutely convinced more families will come forward," he said today.

The NHS trust said in a statement it was committed to working with the review and had made improvements - a point also made by CQC inspectors following unannounced visits in November.

Watch: MP asks again for statement from secretary of state

The MP for Telford has called on the health secretary, again, for a statement on the Shropshire maternity investigations.

Last night a House of Commons debate on avoidable deaths at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust heard the number of cases now being investigated had reached 900 and that a report would be published at the end of the year.

But Lucy Allan has asked for the health secretary to make a comment now, following the leak of an interim report at the end of last year.

This is the response she got from the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees Mogg, today:

Telford MP asks health secretary for maternity statement

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

It will be a windy day with some heavy rain at times with highs of 8C (46F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

About 900 cases now investigated by maternity review

Health minister Nadine Dorries has told a House of Commons debate into maternity failings at Shropshire hospitals that a government-commissioned review is now investigating about 900 cases, some dating back 40 years.

But she said the government would not respond to the Ockenden review until it is complete, so as not to hinder the investigation.

Nadine Dorries
Parliamentlive.tv

Ms Dorries also said she expected the review to publish its results by the end of the year, which matches the timeframe outlined by Ms Ockenden last year.

The debate was called by Telford MP Lucy Allen, highlighted the seriousness and "scale" of details reported in leaks to the media in November.

Commissioned in April 2017, Ms Allen also compared the time taken to complete the Ockenden review to the Morecambe Bay inquiry, which "reported promptly", and that it was about the safety of maternity care "in our hospitals today".

The former health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who commissioned the review, also spoke in the debate and suggested the "biggest mistake the government could make" when the Ockenden Report is finally published would be "saying this is a one-off incident" and that lessons would apply across the NHS.

MP concerned about hospitals' attitude towards women

The MP for Telford has told a House of Commons debate on the avoidable baby deaths at Shropshire's hospitals that she has concerns about the trust's attitudes towards women.

Lucy Allan said "there was a kind of 'we know best' attitude" and "I am concerned about the way this trust appears to have treated women and about their attitudes towards women, which appears to be dismissive."

Lucy Allan
Parliamentlive.tv

A government-commissioned review into the safety of women and babies at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford has identified hundreds of potential cases.

Dry weather tonight but will change tomorrow

BBC Weather

The dry weather's set to continue tonight which will also see long, clear spells and a light breeze. Low: 3C (37F).

Dawley, Shropshire
Liam Ball

Tomorrow will start dry and bright but it'll then turn cloudy and windy through the morning with some rain later in the day. High: 11C (52F).

You can keep up-to-date on the latest weather for your area on the BBC Weather website.

Almost 600 patients face 12-hour waits in A&Es

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Almost 600 patients have had to wait more than 12 hours for a bed after arriving at A&E units in Shrewsbury and Telford over the last six weeks, a health committee has heard.

Last week, figures released by NHS England showed 348 patients faced waits of more than 12 hours in December - the worst figures in England by some margin.

So far in January, 226 people have faced similar waits.

A&E at Telford
SATH

That is despite admissions being lower than forecast, according to Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group governance board member Adam Pringle.

He said it suggested "volume is not the issue".

David Evans, the accountable officer for Shropshire's CCGs said the A&Es had faced a "difficult Christmas period" but it was "impossible to say" whether higher demand or a stretched workforce was the main cause.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has recently lost two consultants due to resignation and sick leave, with a third due to go off on maternity leave soon.

Flood alerts remain as more rain forecast

River levels across the West Midlands are expected to stay high over the next few days, the Environment Agency has said.

It's still got flood alerts affecting the rivers Severn, Avon, Teme, Lugg, Dene, Leam, Swift, Sow, Penk, Worfe, Tern and Perry.

flood map
Environment Agency

More rain is forecast tomorrow and the Environment Agency warned that people in towns and cities may see floodwater rise up through drains.

No need for a brolly today

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

It's set to be a dry day with sunny spells and, while breezy, not as windy as yesterday. High: 9C/48F.

Sara Blizzard

The dry weather's set to continue tonight with a lot of clear sky. Low: 3C/37F.

Get the latest forecast for your area at any time from the BBC Weather website.

Grants for building improvements available

Businesses in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire are being invited to bid for grants of up to £150,000.

The money is partly from the European Regional Development Fund and companies can ask for money to pay for new buildings, extensions, renovations or repairs, as long as they pay half the costs themselves.

Money
Getty Images

Shops and farming companies are exempt, however, and companies can't apply for retrospective funding for work they've already carried out.

Successful applicants will also have to prove the investment creates at least one full-time job within four months of the work's completion.

Funding is not affected by Brexit.

Flood alerts as more rain is forecast

We're seeing a number of flood alerts in the West Midlands, affecting the rivers Severn, Tern, Perry, Sow, Penk, Lugg, Avon, Swift, Leam and Frome.

This photo was taken by a West Mercia Police officer on the A4110 between Wigmore and Adforton this morning. The Environment Agency has warned about flash flooding on roads.

flooded road
West Mercia Police

Gusty winds and heavy rain are forecast for parts of the region tonight and the Environment Agency says it expects river levels to remain high.

Storm Brendan: Flash flooding 'inevitable'

Flash flooding is "inevitable" with heavy rain and winds forecast across the West Midlands later, the Environment Agency has said.

A yellow warning for wind is in place from 12:00 until midnight.

View more on twitter

Warning of strong winds issued

Strong winds could cause travel problems and there's the possibility of power loss in some areas, the Met Office is warning.

View more on twitter

The yellow warning, affecting the whole of the West Midlands, is in place from 12:00 until midnight.

Storm Brendan is set to be followed by icy patches, wintry showers and more gales in other parts of the country which could lead to further travel disruption.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It's going to get windy today with rain from late morning and highs of 10C (50F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Blood donation 'harder after NHS closures'

BBC News Health

The NHS has made it harder to give blood in Shropshire, according to a donor from the county.

A bag of blood
Getty Images

Rowan Swainson, 66, from Wellington, has given blood more than 40 times.

But he told BBC News recent closures in the county had led to a rising cost in travel to blood centres, which was deterring many donors.

"In cutting costs to the service, they have just passed on the costs to their most valuable asset, which is their volunteer donors," he said.

"I know many donors that have stopped donating because of this."

NHS Blood and Transplant admitted some sessions had closed making it harder to get to ones in rural areas but a new campaign for male donors was mainly aimed at towns and cities.

Weather warning for wind issued

Strong winds on Tuesday could cause disruption to transport and loss of power across the West Midlands, the Met Office is warning.

Weather warning
Met Office

A yellow warning for wind has been issued from 12:00 to midnight.

The storm was named Brendan on Saturday by Irish weather service, Met Éireann.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a dry and windy morning a band of heavy rain will spread eastwards across the region with highs of 9C (48F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Your weather: A cloudy night with strong winds

It will be a cloudy night with strengthening winds and lows of 3C (37F).

Tomorrow will be cloudy for much of the day with occasional showers and strong winds.

Lower Broadheath
BBC Weather Watchers/Mike Snapper

You can find a detailed forecast for your area on the BBC Weather site.

Hospitals say action being taken to cut A&E waits

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SATH) says it is taking action to cut waits in its A&Es.

Recent figures have put the trust among the worst performers in England, with just 60.5% of A&E patients being treated inside four hours. The government's target is 95%.

A&E
SATH

NHS England's figures also reveal 348 A&E patients were waiting more than 12 hours for a bed.

SATH has yet to explain the reasons behind the sudden spike in waits, but Sarah Biffen, Deputy Chief Operating Officer at the trust said doctors, nurses and other staff were "working hard to provide the best possible care while we still see very high demand on our services".

She also said additional beds were being created, including a discharge lounge at the Royal Shrewsbury Hosptal and a 16-bed ward at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

Patients speak about long waits at hospital A&Es

Family of patients who had to endure long waits at Shropshire's two accident and emergency departments have been speaking about their experiences today.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has the fourth-worst record for patients being asked to wait four hours or more to be seen

Rebecca Jones from Manchester said her father Dave Jones was "left on a trolley in the corridor of Shrewsbury hospital A&E department for 32 hours." after suffering a heart attack in December.

She said the staff "were great and were doing the best they could", but added, "this was insane and really not good enough”.

Dave Jones
BBC

Mark Newton said his 83-year-old father-in-law, George Bufton, was taken to Shrewsbury Hospital in the first week of January.

He had a chest infection and a suspected gall bladder problem and spent 25 hours waiting for a bed to be found.

Mr Newton said he was "gobsmacked" by what he saw and that while staff were doing an "admirable" job in the circumstances, there was just not enough money or staff to cope.

Hospitals A&Es among worst in England

New figures show Shropshire's Accident and Emergency units remain among the worst performing in England and its worst figures for the year, by some margin.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust was put in special measures in November 2018, in part due to its A&Es.

By the government's favoured four-hour benchmark, just 60.5% of patients who attended A&Es in Shrewsbury or Telford were seen inside that window - the target is 95%.

Last month 348 people had to wait more than 12 hours in the A&Es for a bed, up from 61 in November and 44 in October.

By that measure the trust stands out very prominently as the worst performing in England.

Telford A&E
BBC

The number of admissions last month rose by 959 compared with December 2018, but were broadly in line with most of 2019.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has consistently been towards the bottom of NHS England's A&E league table and has been struggling with a shortage of staff in the department.

It is planning to reorganise its services to make Shrewsbury the main centre for emergency medicine in the future.

Pair in court over charity shop burglaries

Two men from Oakengates have appeared before magistrates, charged with a series of charity shop burglaries in Shropshire last month.

The pair both denied the charges, which relate to raids on stores in Wellington, Bridgnorth and Shifnal.

One of the men also faces two charges of assaulting an emergency worker.

They have been released on conditional bail, to reappear before Shrewsbury Crown Court on 10 February.

More rain and showers in next 24 hours

BBC Weather

There's going to be more rain to start tonight but it should clear from about midnight. Low: 6C/43F.

Southam, Warwickshire
Littleacorns

Tomorrow's then set to start breezy and cloudy with some blustery showers through the day. High: 10C/50F.

Get a latest forecast at any other time from the BBC Weather website.

Homicides fall for first time in five years

BBC News UK

The number of people killed in most parts of the West Midlands fell in 2019, BBC research suggests.

Flowers for a stabbing victim in Birmingham in 2019
BBC

It's in line with a trend across the UK as, in total, 650 people were killed in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland last year.

That's down from the 774 homicides in 2018, police figures show.

West Midlands Police said the number fell from 51 in 2018 to 39 last year; while homicides in Greater Manchester were down from 64 to 39.

West Mercia and Cheshire police forces also saw drops in homicides recorded in 2019 compared to the previous 12 months.

Keep an umbrella handy

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It's going to be mainly cloudy today with patches of rain and just the rare sunny spell around. High: 11C/52F.

Alex Hamilton

Keep up-to-date with the latest weather forecast for your area with the BBC Weather website.

Council leader names his preferred Corbyn successors

The Labour leader of Telford and Wrekin Council wants Jeremy Corbyn's successor to be someone who has "looked at the lessons that need to be learnt" from the "awful" general election defeat.

Shaun Davies said Sir Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy were his favourites out of the candidates who have declared so far.

Shaun Davies
BBC

Mr Davies also said it was "really important that we understand what went wrong and what we need to do in order to become a credible opposition and eventually a government."

Your weather forecast: Clear spells overnight

BBC Weather

There will be a few clear spells overnight with winds gradually easing and lows of 9C (48F).

Tomorrow morning will be mainly dry but rain will spread in from the west by the afternoon.

Robin
BBC Weather Watchers/Angus and me

Ambulance crews handed A&E rule over care homes

West Midlands Ambulance Service has directed its staff not to take patients living in nursing and care homes to A&E without first seeking the approval of the control room - unless the patient's condition is life-threatening.

The service is trying to reduce A&E waits and has a department within the control room dedicated to finding alternatives to emergency transfers.

Ambulance
BBC

In Shropshire, the number of ambulances kept waiting outside an A&E for more than three hours rose from 34 in 2018 to 152 last year.

Pair arrested over spate of charity shop burglaries

Two men have been arrested after a spate of 10 charity shop break-ins in Shropshire last month.

Stores in Much Wenlock, Ludlow, Bridgnorth, Shifnal, Lawley and Wellington were targeted.

Break in
Cuan Wildlife Rescue

The men, aged 25 and 29, were arrested on suspicion of burglary and are being held in police custody.

Your weather forecast: A colder night in store

BBC Weather

It will turn dry tonight with clear periods and winds easing, with lows of 2C (36F).

Tomorrow morning will see bright spells giving way to cloud and patchy rain.

You can find a detailed weather forecast for your area on the BBC Weather site.

Bromsgrove
BBC Weather Watchers / Mrs Baggins

Dry weather to start weekend

BBC Weather

Dry tonight with some long, clear spells mixed with some patches of cloud. Low: 3C (37F).

Wolverhampton
Les at Large

Then the weekend starts cold and clear before Saturday will be mainly fine with sunny spells and scattered cloud. High: 9C (48F).

Get a latest forecast for your area at any time from the BBC Weather website.

Budget plans include tax rise and £60m growth fund

BBC Shropshire

A £60m fund is set to be used over the next four years to build new houses and business units in Telford and surrounding areas.

Housing
Telford and Wrekin Council

The council's already constructed 329 new homes for rent through its firm Nuplace and says this cash could see it double its size by 2024.

The local authority's also previously built new business units in places such as T54 and Hortonwood West.

Other budget plans include raising council tax by 3.99%, £16m for road, path and bridge improvements and spending £5m regenerating high streets in the borough.

A consultation on the proposals will run until 31 January.

Rain expected in next few hours

BBC Weather

Cloudy this evening with the odd bit of drizzle around before more rain's expected to spread in through the night. Low: 7C (45F).

Delph
Laura and Glenn

Then starting damp tomorrow before the cloud and rain clears by the afternoon to leave some sunny spells. High: 8C (46F).

Keep up-to-date with the BBC Weather website.

Weather: A cold but dry start to the new year

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

Going out to see in the new year? The good news is it should be a mainly dry night.

Here's your weather forecast:

Weather forecast for the West Midlands

Charity shop break-ins rise to 10

Ten charity shops have been broken into across Shropshire in a month, police said today.

The Cuan Wildlife store in Much Wenlock was targeted overnight, along with the MIND and Cancer Research shops in Bridgnorth.

The Oxfam, Blue Cross and Cancer Research UK charity shops in Ludlow were raided on 27 December.

Broken window
Cuan Wildlife Rescue

Thieves have also broken into two charity shops in Shifnal, one in Lawley and another in Wellington during December and West Mercia Police said it thought the crimes could be linked.