Mid Wales

MPs debate A&E change fears for Powys patients

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption Thousands of Powys patients use services at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shropshire.

Some Powys patients could face journeys of more than an hour to reach emergency hospital treatment in Shropshire, a Welsh MP has warned.

Montgomeryshire's Glyn Davies said health officials must rethink proposals which could see a new emergency centre in Telford, rather than in Shrewsbury.

Current plans are on hold for consultation, but affect Welsh patients travelling to England for treatment.

The issue was debated in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening.

At the moment, mid Wales patients requiring treatment for life-threatening conditions are normally taken to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital's A&E unit.

But reorganisation will see a new dedicated emergency centre built for Shropshire.

However, that could be sited in Telford, which is a further 15 minutes away for Welsh patients.

"It isn't a logical option," the Conservative MP told BBC Wales.

"There are people from the Llanidloes area now who are travelling the best part of three-quarters to an hour to get to an emergency A&E centre. That is excessive.

"I think to add a quarter of an hour - 20 minutes even - under a blue light on top of that, I think that is just unacceptable."

Joy Jones said she had experienced the journey from Newtown to Shrewsbury in an ambulance with her son Joshua. She said the prospect of another 20 minutes on the road was "terrifying".

"You've started counting down the miles and trying to work out where you were on the road - it's very frightening, especially if it's dark - it's night time," she said.

"To go to Shrewsbury is frightening enough. To think that you've got to go further - sort of 20 minutes up the road to Telford - to get emergency treatment is terrifying."

The reorganisation is part of a NHS Future Fit programme that was launched in 2014, and is due to be implemented in 2017.

The two main hospitals in Shropshire service only about 400,000 people, and there have been problems recruiting consultants.

Its health trust has argued that one emergency department would put specialists consultants in one place, improving patient care.

Health minister David Mowat said on Thursday evening the joint Shropshire and Telford Commissioning Group would meet next week to start an eight to 12-week review of the options.

He said a new independent chairman would also be appointed with a casting vote to help decide on a favoured location. Once that is decided it will then go to public consultation.

A final decision is expected to take place in the summer.

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