Shropshire hospital's A&E department 'could close overnight'

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption Patients may not be able to access Royal Shrewsbury Hospital's A&E department overnight if the trust recommends a temporary closure to save resources

A hospital in either Shrewsbury or Telford may be closing its A&E department overnight.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said delays with plans to reform its healthcare meant it was exploring a number of "contingency measures".

"One immediate measure could be the temporary overnight closure of one of our A&E departments," it said.

Patients and staff at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford will be asked for their views.

'Fragile' services

Telford & Wrekin councillor Shaun Davies expressed fears that a temporary closure could become permanent, "they close and never reopen", he tweeted.

The review, known as NHS Future Fit, was launched in 2014 to review the health system across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and mid-Wales, and is set to finish in spring in 2017.

A statement from the trust, which cares for 500,000 patients, said it would "carefully" consider all options before taking any decision.

"Listening to our doctors, nurses and other health professionals in A&E and also in acute medicine, critical care and other specialties, we know how fragile some of our services are," it said.

But, it said as it waited for the review outcome it had to keep services running efficiently and that it had to have a contingency in place in case it did not have enough staff for two 24-hour emergency departments.

"Our first duty of care is to our patients, and therefore it is vital that we have contingencies in place should the continued safe, effective and dignified running of these services become unsustainable because there are not enough staff to provide a safe service 24-hours a day in two A&E departments," a statement said.

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