'It's taken much too long': Jeremy Hunt vows to step in over Shropshire Future Fit health crisis
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has vowed to step in to the ongoing Future Fit process after saying plans to reorganise hospital services in Shropshire have taken "much too long".
Following questions in the House of Commons today, he pledged to meet Telford MP Lucy Allan in a bid to bring the ongoing situation to a conclusion.
It comes after members of the county's two clinical commissioning groups rejected the NHS Future Fit board's recommendations during a meeting last week.
The Future Fit review had recommended having one A&E serving Shropshire and Mid Wales at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. The Princess Royal Hospital's A&E would be downgraded and its Women and Children's unit would also be moved to RSH.
All six panel members from Shropshire CCG voted for taking the plans to public consultation – but the six members representing Telford & Wrekin CCG voted against.
There has been outcry from campaigners in Telford, since the preferred option was announced.
During questions to the Health Secretary in the House of Commons today, Ms Allan asked Mr Hunt to meet her to discuss the problem.
She said: "Clinicians in Telford have been showing real leadership by rejecting proposals to close a brand new women and children's unit and elements of our accident and emergency unit.
"The quango responsible for this idea has spent £3 million and taken three years to come up with this proposal which is rejected by local people and local clinicians.
"Will my right honourable friend meet with me and my local colleagues to bring an end to this farce and ensure this does not continue in limbo any longer."
In response Mr Hunt agreed to meet her, and said Future Fit has taken "much too long".
"I do recognise the amount of hard campaigning on this issue in Telford and that she speaks for the concerns of many of her own constituents," he said.
"As she knows, these service changes must be locally driven and they must have the support from GP commissioners.
"But she will also know that the actual situation, very frustratingly has not led to a consensus between clinicians in different parts of Telford and Shropshire.
"I do agree with her that the process has taken much too long and I am more than happy to meet with her and try and bring this situation to a close as soon as possible."