Jeremy Hunt summit over future of Shropshire healthcare branded ‘complete waste of time’

A meeting between Shropshire MPs and senior council figures and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been branded a “complete waste of time”.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Talks in London with Mr Hunt over the future of healthcare across Shropshire and Mid Wales lasted “less than half an hour”, according to Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies.

But Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard said Mr Hunt had “listened carefully” to concerns about the Future Fit process, and Councillor Andrew Eade, leader of the opposition Conservative group on Telford & Wrekin Council, said he was “greatly encouraged” following the summit.

Councillor Shaun Davies
Councillor Shaun Davies

Last night’s meeting saw Councillor Davies, Shropshire Council leader Malcolm Pate and chief executive Clive Wright, Mr Pritchard, Telford MP Lucy Allan and several councillors travel to London to meet Mr Hunt.

Councillor Davies said a number of important matters weren’t addressed at the meeting.

Councillor Davies said: “I’m disappointed. I feel the main things we went there for were not addressed, the first of which for more money being made available for community care and adult social care to stop people ill in the community going to A&E in the first place, the second for both A&Es to remain open in the short and long term.

“The meeting lasted less than half an hour and in my view it was a complete waste of time. However he did promise he would review Future Fit and the Sustainability and Transformation Plan process objectively. An independent civil service review is needed for the flawed Future Fit process.

“But it was a long way to travel for such little progress to be made.”

But Mr Pritchard said: “The health secretary listened carefully to concerns set out by myself, Lucy Allan and local councillors about the Future Fit process and made it clear that any changes to A&E provision needed to be matched by healthcare provision in the wider community.”

Councillor Eade said: “I am greatly encouraged by the Secretary of State’s response. He said the Future Fit process was disappointing and any decision could be referred to him for independent review.”

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