Call to refurbish Telford homes for doctors to staff A&E
An appeal has been launched to refurbish houses to accommodate doctors at a struggling hospital trust.
Shaun Davies, leader of Telford and Wrekin Council, has called for tradespeople to help refurbish three homes on hospital grounds.
The A&E department at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford is set to be suspended overnight.
Mr Davies said the homes could be offered for free to doctors willing to staff the A&E.
Last month, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust's (SaTH) board ruled the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford would suspend services overnight.
The department will shut from 20:00 to 08:00 BST in October or November for six months.
Mr Davies has appealed to businesses in the region to offer their skilled employees to help refurbish three houses in a "DIY SOS-style project".
"Let's do all that we can to secure those doctors that we need in order to avoid an overnight closure at our A&E here in Telford and Wrekin," he said.
Jenni Rowlands, consultant cardiologist and Director for Undergraduate Education at SaTH, said: "It's great to work with Telford and Wrekin Council to try to provide better services for our junior doctors who are our consultants of the future."
In September the Care Quality Commission took urgent enforcement action when an inspection highlighted safety fears.
The trust was already under investigation over allegations of dozens of avoidable deaths and injuries in its maternity unit.
Mr Davies said the refurbished homes would be offered to junior and middle-grade doctors, in a bid to "attract the staff desperately needed" to keep the A&E open round the clock.
The council said they had identified a "pressing need for accommodation" for hospital staff.
Mr Davies appealed for local businesses to get in touch if they could "help us fit a kitchen, fit a bathroom, paint, decorate, provide materials".
The council launched a petition calling for a government rescue package to prevent the overnight closure of the A&E, with more than 20,000 people having signed it within a week.
Correction 15 October 2018: This article has been amended to clarify that the A&E department at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford is set to suspend overnight services for six months as part of a trust proposal.