I was pleased to receive today's (20 March 2023) announcement that West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) is supporting plans to change how hospital care will be delivered to improve services for everyone in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and mid-Wales.
Mark Docherty, Director of Nursing for WMAS, who has served in the region’s ambulance service for over eight years, and has extensive experience of working in hospitals, has backed plans described in the Hospitals Transformation Programme to improve the way services are delivered across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and mid-Wales.
The plans, which are set to be submitted for final national approval in the early summer will see the creation of a dedicated planned care site at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, which will reduce delays to planned procedures by having dedicated space, teams and specialties available all year round, minimising any impact caused by emergency admissions or winter viruses.
The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) site will specialise in emergency care, with a purpose-developed Emergency Department, co-located with specialist medical and surgical specialties, for everyone in the region. Both sites will provide 24-hour urgent care services, with the A&E Local model at Princess Royal Hospital providing enhanced urgent care services.
Mr Docherty says that in his opinion, the changes will reduce the need to transport emergency patients from one hospital to the other. This currently takes up vital ambulance resource and increases the risk of delays, which can allow the patient’s condition to worsen.
These changes would decrease ambulance waiting times because more patients would be transported to the right hospital the first time, with the right staff and services available to diagnose, treat, and care for each patient.
The quality of patient care and safety, Mr Docherty says, will also improve under the new arrangement by:
- Making sure that clinicians specialising in dependent services are located on a single site.
- Giving patients access to a wider range of specialist care in one place.
- Stopping services being split across the two sites, which helps to reduce strain on the on-call system.
- Easing pressure on current staff and preventing them leaving the region by making Shropshire a more attractive place to work.
- Removing the confusion that exists within the current set up across the Shrewsbury and Telford sites.