Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies calls for Shropshire hospital trust chiefs to 'come clean'
Shropshire hospital bosses have been urged to 'come clean' over their plans for the future of services in Telford.
The leader of Telford & Wrekin Council has called on the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust to be honest after Telford's MP Lucy Allan claimed to have been assured the women and children's centre will stay at the Princess Royal Hospital.
Simon Wright, the chief executive of the trust, also said the £28 million women and children's centre at the PRH will remain no matter what the decision is on where to base the county's emergency centre.
He said Telford would also benefit from a new cancer unit for patients needing day case treatment such as chemotherapy.
But Councillor Shaun Davies, the Labour leader of the council, said he felt the move was still a 'downgrade through the back door'.
Hospital staff have taken to social media in a bid to explain to residents the changes to services at the centre.
Colorectal surgeon and care group medical director at SaTH, Mark Cheetham said that outpatient services would remain at the centre but children's surgery would be performed at whichever hospital has the emergency unit.
Mr Davies said: "There are two simple questions that need to be asked: will all the current services delivered at the women and children's centre still be provided at the PRH in the future? And will all A&E services being provided at the hospital continue? The answer to both questions is 'no'.
"This is another example of health bosses trying to downgrade the hospital and bring in changes by the back door.
"In January, in a newsletter to patients, they said their preferred option for a single A&E was Shrewsbury. Then they said Telford was going to keep an A&E which, in fact, is their planned downgraded walk-in Urgent Care Centre under another name.
"Then they began to plan for a possible overnight closure of A&E in Telford. Again, this was something we were not told of in advance, despite being a stakeholder. Now we hear of assurances given by SaTH to the MP for Telford (Lucy Allan) that the women and children's centre is to stay.
"We understand SaTH's latest plan is to keep the name of the Women and Children's Centre, but it wouldn't be the same facility Telford currently has. This is misleading."
Councillor Davies has vowed that the council will continue to fight to save the PRH from any changes to its services.
He added that over the Easter break, the council's PRH4Me campaign saw more than 30,000 people pledge their support for services at the PRH.
He added: "Our planned march and rally this Sunday takes on a greater emphasis to make sure our voices are heard. Join us in Walker Street, Wellington at 2pm or, for those unable to walk the one mile distance, meet at Charlton School for the last leg.
"And next month, the council will hold an Extraordinary General Meeting on a motion of 'No Confidence' in the management of SaTH.
"You can still pledge your support to the PRH4Me campaign at this Sunday's march and rally, or online at www.prh4me.co.uk
"We intend to deliver these pledges and the very loud and clear message from people here at the highest level."
Hospital bosses are praised in Commons
Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard has called for a debate in Parliament over the move, which has also been praised by House of Commons Leader, MP David Liddington, who said hospital trusts should be the ones to make the decision on how services are designated in their area.
Speaking in the Commons yesterday, Mr Pritchard said: "Can we have a debate on hospital services in Shropshire? Would the Leader of the House join me in welcoming the recent comments by Simon Wright, the chief executive of the Telford and Shrewsbury Hospital NHS Trust, that the women's unit and the children's unit, the paediatrics unit, in Telford at the Princess Royal Hospital is now safe and indeed new services, such as cancer care patient services, will be introduced over the coming months.
"Is it not more evidence that the NHS is safe in Conservative hands both nationally and locally?"
Mr Liddington, who is also MP for Aylesbury said: "I welcome that news from Telford and Shrewsbury. I think it is important that these detailed decisions about the configuration of services are taken at local level and driven by the assessment of those in charge of our NHS at local level about what is needed for their particular communities.
"One set-up is not going to work equally well in other parts of the country. There does need to be local sensitivity and I am really pleased that this is what seems to be happening in Shropshire."
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