Labour MP Emma Reynolds has warned that emergency department waiting times will increase at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital, following the decision by the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) to close A&E at Princess Royal Hospital overnight from next month.
The move, which bosses have blamed on staff shortages, means patients will be diverted to hospitals in Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Stafford and Stoke.
It was recently revealed that one in six patients wait for longer than four hours at Wolverhampton’s A&E unit, which is already under increased strain due to taking extra patients from Stafford’s County Hospital.
Wolverhampton North East MP Ms Reynolds branded the decision ‘short-sighted’ and questioned why no extra resources had been allocated to New Cross to deal with the extra demand.
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She said: "Closing Telford A&E overnight from November will only pile on even more pressure and mean that patients possibly have to wait even longer.
"It also comes at a time when the NHS is at its most stretched over the winter, which is incredibly short-sighted.
"Under these plans, more ambulances would be arriving at New Cross from Telford every night – yet New Cross hasn’t been offered additional resources to recruit the doctors and nurses to deal with the extra demand.
"I am calling on the Health Secretary to step in to keep Telford’s A&E open though the night, otherwise patients in Wolverhampton, Shropshire and Staffordshire will not get the quality of care that they deserve, and more people will wait longer than four hours to be seen.”
Ms Reynolds added that the overnight closure in Telford would be ‘avoidable’ if the government gave the NHS ‘the investment it needs’.
Telford & Wrekin Council has launched a petition calling on the Government to prevent the closure.
It is also planning a protest march against the move on November 4.