A LEADING consultant has said patients are “competing for beds” under the current Shropshire hospital model.

Dr Andrew Tapp, medical director for Women and Children Services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals (SaTH) Trust, said it is leading to delays in planned care.

He said by splitting emergency and planned care onto separate sites, as per the proposed Future Fit changes, it would improve services.

He continued: “People are competing for beds.

“When I do my rounds I don’t know who is going to get a bed and who isn’t.

“Perhaps during the day someone will have gone home and released a bed but then overnight that bed may be filled by someone who has come in as an emergency.”

Dr Tapp added: “I don’t want to say to someone at 8am ‘I’m sorry I’m not quite sure if you are going to be able to get in for your surgery today’.

“But I would be able to if we sort out the elective patients from the emergency patients.”

Dr Tapp also revealed that emergency patients who are unable to be moved immediately onto a ward specialising in their illness would add three days to their hospital stay.

He explained: “But being in the right hospital from the start will help.”

Residents at a special meeting of the Albrighton, Shifnal and Sheriffhales Local Joint Committees gave Dr Tapp a round of applause for his explanation of the Future Fit programme.

It would see emergency care based at either the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital or the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford with planned care at the other site.

It would be funded with a £312 million capital investment announced by the Government earlier this year.

Clinicians would prefer emergency care to be at the RSH.

A consultation which closes on Tuesday is asking the public for their views.

Residents at the meeting said they want the best services, but also raised concerns about transport to the RSH as the PRH is closer to them.

Dr Tapp added: “We have been squabbling over where to base services since I came to Shropshire in 1993.

“We have two failing hospitals which will continue to fail if we continue to squabble.”

To take part in the consultation visit www.nhsfuturefit.org