9th June 2022
North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan has demanded Government action to stop patients dying while waiting for ambulances at a meeting with the Health Secretary.
Sajid Javid finally met with Helen six months after she made sure her first act as an MP was to request an urgent meeting with the Health Secretary to discuss Shropshire’s health crisis.
The Lib Dem MP urged Sajid Javid to set up an independent Care Quality Commission review into the health problems plaguing the county which this week led to the worst-ever day for ambulance handover delays in the region. The Health Secretary refused to take this action.
It has been reported that Tuesday was the record day for West Midlands Ambulance Service hold-ups with 2,100 hours of crew time wasted stuck outside hospitals, with the worst hospital for delays being Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
Helen Morgan MP said: “I am grateful that the Health Secretary finally found time to meet, but action has come too late in the day given the urgency of the situation in Shropshire – particularly when we have just seen the worst ever day for ambulance delays in the region’s history.
“Too many people and their families have suffered as a result of this Conservative Government’s failings. In my six months as an MP I’ve constantly called on the Government to take Shropshire seriously and yet they’ve allowed an already dire situation to get worse.
“If you suffer a heart attack in Shropshire you have to wait almost twice as long as people in Birmingham and if you have a serious but not-critical problem you could be stuck in an ambulance outside hospital for an entire day.
“From carers to consultants, far more staff are needed across the health system in Shropshire. As frontline health staff try and cope with more pressure than anyone should be expected to deal with, the Government needs to hurry up and act.
“Given the scale of the country’s labour shortage serious action is needed as so far there is no evidence that attempts to boost the workforce are working.
“I’m disappointed the Health Secretary is refusing a CQC review as an impartial look at Shropshire could help come up with fresh solutions. However I know the team from the Integrated Care System are working extremely hard on their own review and I’m looking forward to hearing their results.
“I have been working closely with local health leaders to identify solutions and will continue to make sure the Government is held to account for allowing people in rural areas to suffer so much.”
Meanwhile it was revealed at the meeting that Sajid Javid has met with West Midlands Ambulance Service after he previously ignored the service’s request for a meeting in the winter.
The Health Secretary eventually met with WMAS after one of its most senior staff members warned that the service is on track to collapse entirely this summer.
WMAS nursing director Mark Docherty said patients were “dying every day” from avoidable causes created by ambulance delays and, like Helen Morgan, questioned why the CQC was not investigating the issue.
Helen Morgan MP added: “New terrible records for delays are being broken all the time and yet the Government continues to sit on its hands.
Elderly patients are forced to suffer in pain for hours and hours while paramedics are stuck waiting outside hospitals through no fault of their own.
“Yet every time we think it can’t get worse it does. What will it take for the Government to take responsibility and take action to stop people dying?”
It comes after 74% of nurses in in the West Midlands region, which includes North Shropshire, reported a shortfall of one or more registered nurses on their last shift and 65% reported a shortfall of one or more health care support workers.
A survey by the Royal College of Nursing also found that 61% felt that patient care was compromised and only 15% said there were enough staff to meet all patients’ needs.