Future Fit: Shropshire hospital changes labelled ‘nonsense’ by Telford Conservative leader
Telford's conservative leader has said the plan for reorganising hospital services in Shropshire "flies in the face" of advice for clinicians.
It comes as Telford & Wrekin Council is set to discuss a vote of no-confidence in the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital's NHS Trust at its meeting on Thursday.
Councillor Andrew Eade, the opposition Conservative party leader, said that the overall proposals, seeing the majority of Women & Children's Services moving from its dedicated building at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital is a "nonsense".
Councillor Eade said “SaTH’s preferred option appears to be the location of a consultant-led critical care unit at the RSH, and although 24/7 urgent care would still remain at the PRH, ‘blue light emergencies’ would be directed to Shrewsbury.”
“This would also result in some of the Women’s & Children’s Services transferring with the consultants, which is a clear nonsense after SaTH spent £28m just three years ago to provide this brand new facility at Telford to meet clinical need.”
“It also flies in the face of advice from the NHS’s own clinicians, as the borough has a younger population than the rest of Shropshire. SaTH cannot attract consultants to work in Shropshire because of this debacle which has serious implications for us all.
"Over three years of wrangling and arguing have brought us nothing except a rapidly deteriorating service.”
At a full council meeting on Thursday, a notice of motion has been put forward by Councillor Charles Smith to call for the intervention of Heath Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the ongoing discussion, after proposals were put forward that could see the PRH close at night from Shrewsbury, due to SaTH's lack of consultants.
Council Leader Shaun Davies said: “This is an NHS Trust in crisis with a mounting catalogue of problems in how it is managing services now and in the future.
“We support the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professional staff who work so hard at the hospitals and across the NHS. This is not a battle with them – this is a battle with those making the decisions and the way they are going about making decisions about the future of the services being provided.
“SaTH have previously been very clear. Their preferred option has been to close the PRH’s Women and Children’s Centre less than 3 years after it opened at a cost of £28m and move this to Shrewsbury despite a clear and established clinical need here in Telford.
“They are thinking of closing Telford’s A&E overnight from this Autumn which could lead to a permanent ‘back-door’ closure of this service.
“At the same time, they are closing midwife-led maternity units across Shropshire.”
Cllr Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s deputy leader added: “SaTH’s preferred option is to remove full 24/7 A&E services and close the Women’s & Childrens Unit. This goes against the advice of the NHS’s own Clinical Senate of senior clinicians who noted that this borough has a younger population than the rest of Shropshire.
“It seems that SaTH appear to have predetermined the outcome of the Future Fit process to help among other things sort their financial issues.
“This from a trust that, at the beginning of this year, couldn’t even afford to pay the bill for sandwiches.”
Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Bill Tomlinson said: “We should expect the very best medical care in the county.
“To rip out the Women and Children’s unit from Telford and move it to Shrewsbury would be madness. It was built in Telford because of the clinical need for it – that need is now many times stronger.”
“We need to have confidence in the management of this trust which at the moment is clearly lacking.”