Critical incident declared at Shropshire health and care system due to rising Covid pressures

The health and care system in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin has declared a critical incident because of 'continued and unprecedented pressure on its services.'

Some non-urgent operations, where patients require a stay in hospital, are being postponed to prioritise patients with the most urgent clinical need.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust says it has taken the step because it is continuing to see 'significant' levels of Covid-19 in its hospitals, alongside high numbers of patients arriving for other conditions - which is leading to longer waiting times for hospital beds.

This, the Trust says, paired with difficulties in discharging patients because of 'a lack of capacity' across the local care sector, as well as staff absence due to Covid-19, is causing a significant strain on the system.

In a statement on its website, the Trust said: "We regret that it has been necessary to take this step, but it is important that we focus on patients needing urgent and emergency care as a priority.

"If you are not contacted directly about an operation being postponed, please continue to attend your appointment as usual. This critical incident is an indication of the serious pressure the system is facing.

"We are working extremely hard to ensure people are kept safe but there are ways that you can help. Our teams are continuing to work exceptionally hard, and we would like to reassure the public that despite the challenges faced, our services remain open for anyone who needs them."

The Trust is urging people to help by:

  • Only calling 999 or going to A&E for serious accidents or genuine emergencies

  • Visiting NHS 111 online or calling NHS111 when urgent medical care is needed, but it's not an emergency

  • Going to Minor Injury Units if your injury is not serious, rather than going to an A&E department - there are 4 MIUs in the county, located at Bridgnorth Community Hospital, Ludlow Community Hospital, Oswestry Health Centre and Whitchurch Community Hospital.