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October 15, 2021 10:55 PM

Heather Kidd has challenged the West Midlands Ambulance Service for its continuing poor response times and its failure to achieve cooperation with Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust at a recent meeting of the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC)*

Heather, who is a member of the Committee, said: "The rural south west has had a long history of poor response times and we know that by the end of the day our ambulances are being called away and used in Wolverhampton and Birmingham after they deliver Shropshire patients there. We also know that ambulances are held up at the Royal Shrewsbury in particular. This leaves us with poor ambulance cover here and people facing several hours wait for an essential service.

"Today we had the same barrage of statistics that failed to conceal the facts that the response times for ambulances in rural Shropshire, if anything, is worsening again. They did at least apologise for a service which is not really good enough."

"What we desperately need is for both the Ambulance Service and the Hospitals to work effectively together on a range of issues around ambulance turnaround times at our Emergency Departments. We know that the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital has drawn up improvement plans but have so far implemented them and have failed to meet with the Ambulance Serves to take on new ideas.

"Although the closure of stations is significant, the critical issue is the lack of joint working between Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals, the West Midlands Ambulance Service and the Clinical Commissioning group.

"The Scrutiny Panel needs to see details of a joint plan urgently with dates for implementation.

"Need urgent improvements before winter pressures make this even worse. We know one lady with a broken hip waited nearly 9 hours for an ambulance and another died a mile and a half from the hospital waiting for an ambulance. A 72 year old lady in Pontesbury collapsed and waited on the floor from 10.30pm until 5.30am for an ambulance. Often 7 or 8 ambulances are stacked waiting to leave their patients at the RSH. Our residents deserve better."

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*The Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) is a panel set up to scrutinize the working of health services in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin. It is composed of representatives from Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Councils, Healthwatch Shropshire and a number of voluntary and professional groups in the healthcare sector.