MP for Shrewsbury, Daniel Kawczynski has secured tomorrow's adjournment debate. It's decided by ballot and will take place after the 7.00pm votes. It's on the subject of 'A&E services in Shropshire and Mid Wales'. Normally adjournment debates are confined to the MP whose debate it is and the responding Minister. Because Health Minister, Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow has a constituency interest, it will probably be Health Minister, David Mowatt who responds. However, I have asked Daniel and the Speaker's office if I can also speak. 2/3 minutes will do. I very much hope so, and this blog post is roughly what I will say if I 'catch the Speaker's Eye', as we say in Westminster-speak.
I have three points to make. Point 1 - to emphasise that the major Shropshire hospitals serve Mid Wales as well as Shropshire. The Welsh Parliament (as I like to call it) is a devolved parliament. It is not the parliament of an Independent state/country. I usually refer to Wales as a nation. There is no hard border twixt England and Wales. There are financing arrangements which allow for NHS services to be accessed where best for the patients. Those calling for anything else have no proper understanding of what devolution means. Emergency care, secondary care, elective care, specialist care (whatever you call it) for most of Montgomeryshire is accessed in Shropshire. This is not even debatable.
Point 2 - the current Emergency care model is not sustainable. The A&E services at the Royal Shrewsbury and the Princess Royal, Telford are not 'emergency services'. Only about 20%of those who present there are real emergencies. The only viable sustainable option is to build a new 'Emergency Unit' for the 20% and two 'Urgent Care Centres' for the 80%, one in Telford and one in Shrewsbury. We've known this for years. But over the last 3years, at a cost of £2million, a body charged to research and recommend, the Future Fit Programme Board, confirmed what we already knew and made its recommendation to the joint Clinical Commissioning Boards which had set it up. Just before Christmas, the CCGs refused to accept the recommendation - a total shambles which cannot be allowed to stand. It would simply mean that A&E consultants would not be attracted to Shropshire, and services would migrate to other hospitals further away.
Point 3 - Where should the Emergency Unit be located. The clear view of the Future Fit Board was Shrewsbury. Unsurprisingly, the view of everyone I've talked to in Mid Wales is Shrewsbury. My guess is that rural parts of Shropshire (around Oswestry, Ludlow etc) would share that view. But Telford says No. Lots of Mid Wales patients have to travel anything up to an hour to reach Shrewsbury now. Telford would be another 15 minutes on top, even travelling under blue light. While Telford itself is only around 20 minutes from Wolverhampton. I must concede I do not know how this is going to end up. But I do want my parliamentary colleagues in England to know anything less than a reformed Shropshire NHS, with an Emergency Centre based at Shrewsbury would make no logical sense.