Socialist Party
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8 August 2018

Shropshire NHS - fight the cuts to our services!

John Mann, GMB union (personal capacity)

Shropshire's reorganisation or 'Future Fit' plans are to close an A&E department at one hospital and have an urgent care centre at the other.

Shropshire has two main hospitals - Princess Royal Telford and Royal Shrewsbury. Over a number of years they have come under threat.

Shropshire is a vast county consisting not only of towns but many rural villages and the NHS serves parts of Wales.

Not having access to two A&E departments will inevitably cost lives. 20 A&E consultants are required but there is only funding for nine.

'Future Fit' means 842 staff lost - 20% fewer nurses and midwifes - and a 10% cut to beds, which will lead to more bed blocking and trolley waits for patients.

Conservative MPs have been proud to emphasise the 312 million from central government, but this is a loan. 200 million is repayable and the rest is a type of private finance initiative deal - repayment of this is at least 11 million a year.

Six local constituency Labour Parties have agreed to a joint statement requesting full funding for both hospitals to retain all services. In a recent visit to Shropshire Jeremy Corbyn echoed this need.

But Telford Labour's elected councillors produced a leaflet opting against the joint statement. They supported keeping Princess Royal Telford A&E open but downgrading Royal Shrewsbury - this they said would save 62 million.

A postcode lottery within the NHS should not be supported by Labour councillors who will be asking working class people to re-elect them next May.

Shropshire Defend Our NHS is a grassroots campaign, and has been fighting to reject cuts to both hospitals planned in the Future Fit policy.