Big boost as Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals to see £32 million investment
A £32 million cash injection will help upgrade buildings and bring 200 new clinical staff to Shropshire's two main hospitals, it was revealed today.
New doctors, nurses, midwives and other clinical staff will be joining The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (Sath), which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.
Almost £15 million will be invested in recruiting to 200 positions, in areas such as A&E, critical care, maternity and end of life care.
It will be the biggest ever investment in the workforce.
A total of £17 million will also be spent on improving ageing estates at both hospitals – with £7 million of this in improvements in radiology, including a new CT scanner at PRH.
Maintenance issues are expected to be addressed in hospital buildings, while the funding will also help to develop IT and clinical services.
The trust says it will be able to make savings by employing more substantive staff, rather than agency workers, and is also developing programmes to train staff in roles such as nursing associates, advanced nurse practitioners and consultants.
Savings will also come from re-looking at how it procures drugs, changes to tariff payments and reducing inefficient methods of working through its partnership with the Virginia Mason Institute in America.
Simon Wright, chief executive at Sath, said it was fantastic news for patients and staff, and would make a real impact on care.
He said the trust has been facing staffing shortages and ageing estates, but it was now in a position to invest significantly in making improvements in advance of Future Fit.
The £32m boost is not part of the £312m funding promised for Future Fit, with bosses still waiting to hear whether a review of that decision will be ordered by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
A decision was made by health commissioners in January to place a single emergency centre for the county in Shrewsbury and for PRH to take on responsibility for planned care.
Telford & Wrekin Council formally referred the decision to Mr Hancock, asking for a review, and it is now in the hands of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel which will be making recommendations.
Mr Wright said the £32m investment, which will be delivered over the next 12 months, is 'vital'.
He said: "We cannot wait for the reconfiguration of our hospitals to get on with it, the time is now.
"It will help us to continue to deliver the safe, quality care that our patients deserve, in an environment and with the equipment that our hardworking staff deserve."
He said it would tackle a number of historic issues, adding: “This investment in quality is really great news for our patients and our staff.
"This will enable us to take the organisation forward and take a significant step forward for the future and begin to move away from the fragility that we have had over the last decade.
“The investment will come through NHS allocations, internal efficiencies, and the hard work of our people who have generated the opportunity to be able to do this, whilst still being able to meet our other financial obligations.”
Dr Saskia Jones-Perrott, assistant medical director for unscheduled care, also welcomed the news.
She said: “We very much welcome this funding into areas including our emergency and acute medicine departments. "These areas are the front door of the hospital for many of our patients and this investment will enable us to deliver the safest care we are able to at a time when it is needed most.”
It comes as staffing shortages almost led to a temporary overnight closure of A&E at PRH last year.
Dr Roger Slater, critical care consultant intensivist, said: “Investing in the development of the critical care services at Sath will facilitate the best management of the sickest and most at risk patients in the most appropriate and safe clinical environment.
"The funding is a very important boost to this vital service and is hugely welcome.”
Jill Whitaker, matron for consultant unit maternity services, said it was an opportunity to 'really move the service forward'.