Shrewsbury A&E unit to give Wales patients faster access

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital Image copyright Press Association / Rui Vieira
Image caption The main emergency care centre will be based at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Campaigners have welcomed the decision to site a new emergency unit at Shrewsbury's hospital instead of Telford.

The Royal Shrewsbury hospital is closer to the border with Wales, meaning faster access for 70,000 people in Powys who use the Shropshire services.

That hospital is already about 45 minutes away by ambulance.

Newtown councillor Joy Jones said another 13 miles to Telford could mean the difference between life and death.

"I know the residents and patients of Powys will be made up. Hopefully it will take away the fears of having to travel further," she said.

"It has been a long process, but it has been worth it."

Image copyright SATH
Image caption Under the plan, A&E in Shrewsbury will be replaced by an upgraded emergency centre

Adrian Osborne from Powys Teaching Health Board ‎said it had secured the long term future of hospital services important to communities in north Powys.

He said a significant programme of work would now take place, which the health board would be closely involved in.

The process has been ongoing since 2013, but the Shrewsbury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Telford and Wrekin CCG chose the Shrewsbury option at a meeting on Tuesday night - meaning Telford's unit will be downgraded.

Members of the public at the meeting complained there was "no public consent" and that they had not been listened to.

But the CCGs said the two hospitals were struggling to provide the best care and attract the staff they need, and that services could be lost outside of the county if the changes were not made.

Both sites will still have 24-hour Urgent Care centres, but patients conveyed by ambulance would go to Shrewsbury.

It will mean moving some women and children's care away from the centre that opened in Telford in 2014, including consultant-led maternity care, which doctors said needed to be alongside the emergency centre and its experts.

More on this story