Shropshire Star

Future Fit: 'No more delays' plea from councillor

The reorganisation of Shropshire's health services must not delayed any further, a councillor has demanded.

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The impassioned plea came from Cleobury Mortimer Councillor Madge Shineton at yesterday's meeting of the Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group's governing body meeting

It comes after it was revealed that a review into the Future Fit programme, which was set up to decide where hospital services are located in the county, has been delayed further after bosses could not find a firm to carry out the independent review.

The CCG says it has made two failed attempts to tender the review. It now has two 'proposals' and insists a decision could be made as soon as next week.

Lay member William Hutton, who chairs the audit committee, said: "Future Fit has been going on for a long time, and the longer time it goes on for, the more opportunity to look at it again. Effectively a decision was made quite a while ago about the options. Are we still looking at the right options?"

But Simon Freeman, the CCG's accountable officer, insisted there were no plans to look at any other options and warned if a third option was brought to the table, that would halt the process further.

Councillor Shineton said: "If we can't find a firm to review this, they must be very reluctant to do it.

"I beg you, for heaven's sake, let's not find another excuse to hold up this process again.

"Lets go out to the public and see what the public want, and if they say none of the above, it must be looked at again.

"For heaven's sake, get on with it."

Those behind the review insisted last month that an independent chair would be appointed "in the coming weeks".

The review would take four weeks, with a potential conclusion in mid-July.

Following the review, plans are expected to go to public consultation and a final decision will then be made.

The board came up with its preferred option of the A&E unit at the RSH last year. But Telford & Wrekin Council threatened legal action and it was decided that a review should be taken into how the decision making process was carried out.