A MIXED picture has emerged from an inspection by health watchdogs of the two main acute hospitals where people from Ludlow and south Shropshire would be referred for treatment.

Inspectors from the Quality Care Commission have said that whilst care is good there are aspects of the service at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford that need improvement.

These are the two main hospitals to which people in Ludlow and south Shropshire could be referred for surgery or consultant care.

Accident and emergency was one of the areas where there was concern.

The inspection praised the caring and compassionate staff at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

But it also identified important areas for improvement at the Trust which runs Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and follows an inspection by the in December 2016.

Overall, the trust has been rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ – though medical care is rated as ‘good’ at both hospitals.

The hospital is also rated as ‘Good’ for caring and effectiveness, with inspectors saying they saw examples of good care on every ward and department they visited. But a number of areas for improvement are also highlighted.

These include poor medical staffing levels and failing to achieve the Department of Health’s target of discharging, admitting or transferring 95 per cent of Accident and Emergency patients within four hours. These are areas the trust says it expects to improve.

Simon Wright, chief executive at the trust described the inspection as fair and is confident that improvements are being made.

“The trust has made significant improvement in the past two years, with 64 per cent of the areas inspected now rated as good,” he said.

This improvement is particularly noticeable within medical care, but there is also positive movement within surgery and end of life care.

“One thing that is clear throughout the report is the care and compassion our staff show to our patients every single day. Indeed, we were rated ‘good’ for caring and one of the key findings of the report was that patients consistently told inspectors how staff cared for them with compassion and kindness.

However, he said that there would be no glossing over of where things needed to get better.

“The fragility of our Accident and Emergency departments and some of our other services is no secret, but we are working hard to resolve the challenges these services are facing,” Simon Wright added.

“We are also addressing many of our issues though our partnership with the Virginia Mason Institute in America – recognised as the world’s safest hospital. During their visit the inspection team were incredibly impressed with this work, as well as our Transforming Care Institute, where the innovation and change work is housed, describing it as an area of ‘outstanding practice’.”

An area highlighted as an example of ‘outstanding practice’ was end-of-life care.

However, there were concerns about aspects of the maternity care and the trust says improvements are being made.