Summit throws spotlight on urgent and emergency care challenges

15 July 2022

Health and care leaders in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin have met with local MPs to discuss actions to improve ambulance delays.

The delays being faced by ambulances at Shropshire’s two Accident and Emergency Departments in Shrewsbury and Telford have been well publicised in recent months.

A two-part summit was therefore called to debate the issues in detail and agree next steps for improvement. The second of those summits took place today. It was chaired by Simon Whitehouse, CEO of NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin; and Professor Anthony Marsh, CEO of West Midland Ambulance Service, and was attended by MPs, Chief Executives and other leaders from across the health and care system.

Sam Tilley, Director of Urgent and Emergency Care and Emergency Planning for NHS STW, said: “This summit was very timely as we have continued to see unacceptable delays in ambulance handovers at our hospitals.

“We are not unique in this sense as a similar picture is repeated across the region, and indeed across the country. But our local challenges are exacerbated by long-standing issues around recruitment, the suitability of our buildings and our rurality.

“We had an open and honest conversation with our local MPs, who rightly challenged us on what we are doing to improve the position.

“There is no one magic solution to the issues confronting us and no partner working on their own can solve the problems, there is, however, a collective commitment to improve the current situation.”

The summit highlighted key work under way via the development of an Urgent and Emergency Care Improvement Plan but also noted the important link to other key programmes of work– including the Local Care Transformation Programme and the Hospital Transformation Programme. Health leaders set out that the delivery of these two transformation schemes is pivotal to creating a long-term sustainable health and care system for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

There was also a clear focus on action we were taking right now to reduce pressure on urgent care services.

Examples include Rapid Response – a team of clinicians who can respond within two hours of a referral to support patients who are experiencing a health or social care crisis, with the aim of preventing an unnecessary journey or admission to hospital. The scheme has already shown positive results in parts of the county and is being rolled out further next month.

A Single Point of Access for clinical refers operated by Shropdoc to assist in diverting ambulances away from A&E to alternative options where clinically appropriate to do so has shown positive results since it was introduced in the early part of this year and there are plans to work with the Ambulance Service to further develop and increase the impact of this service.

“It is extremely important to all health and care partners that we address these issues together,” said Sam. “We know that we must work in partnership if we are going to make a sustainable difference.

“There is a lot we have already done, but also so much still to do. We thank our MPs for their support in driving this agenda and their commitment to the experience of all our communities when accessing urgent and emergency care services.

“We have committed to ongoing briefings for our MPs so we can keep them appraised of progress.”




Page last updated 15 July 2022