Future Fit: Shropshire health review facing 'inconvenient truth' says Telford council leader Shaun Davies
Those behind Future Fit face an "inconvenient truth", according to the leader of Telford & Wrekin Counci
As the independent review into the way decisions are made about the future of hospital services gets underway, Shaun Davies has written an open letter again stressing the importance of doing what is right.
In his letter, Councillor Davies highlights how the preferred option of the decision-making process called Future Fit conflicts with one of the main observations of the NHS’s own clinical experts.
This follows a report by the West Midlands Clinical Senate published late last year.
Councillor Davies says: “It is a matter of public fact that is beyond dispute that the preferred option of the so-called NHS Future Fit review process, of Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust would result in the downgrading of the current level of A&E and Women’s &Children’s Services which are currently provided at the PRH.
“When the local Future Fit process asked the NHS's own medical experts - the West Midlands Clinical Senate - to look at the proposals, one of the main observations from this team of regional experts was that: ‘Telford and Wrekin have a younger population and more deprived population; this would favour the Emergency Centre at the PRH Telford site. However, this is mitigated by the elderly population in the Shrewsbury area where Emergency Care services will be required by the elderly patients. However, if robust community based services are in place this service could address some of this demand’.
“This observation doesn’t appear to have been widely shared and certainly hasn’t received much attention.
“Perhaps it is an inconvenient truth for some people.”
The letter concludes: “I believe, in the 21st century, people deserve better health services, whether that be in the community or in hospital.
“Local people deserve investment in the right solutions that will care for, protect, support and enhance their communities. It is time for some new thinking that doesn’t pitch hospital versus hospital or community against community.
“It is time for those local NHS decision-makers to rip up the tired old one- dimensional thinking and now move with pace and purpose to design solutions that meet the specific needs of all our different communities.”
Future Fit has proposed a main A&E department at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital with the current A&E at Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital being downgraded to an urgent care centre. The process has stalled following the threat of legal action from Telford & Wrekin Council.