Future Fit: Option is' worst of both worlds'
A council leader has said that proposals for the future of Shropshire’s hospitals are “the worst of both worlds”.
At last night’s Telford & Wrekin full council meeting, Councillor Shaun Davies led a notice of motion saying that it would not support proposals to make Shrewsbury’s hospital the main base for the county’s emergency care.
As part of the Future Fit process to reorganise Shropshire’s major hospital services a joint committee has recommended plans to downgrade A&E services at Telford’s Princess Royal Hospitalin favour of one emergency and trauma department based in Shrewsbury.
Proposals include a new emergency centre and women and children’s services at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, while planned surgery, orthopaedics and specialist centres would be based in Telford. But a notice of motion has been put forward for Telford & Wrekin’s full council meeting, where the council’s Labour leader Shaun Davies says it will continue to fight for services to remain at the Princess Royal Hospital.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Councillor Davies said the council would continue to fight for services to remain at the Princess Royal Hospital. He said: “Future Fit’s preferred option would be the worst of both worlds for everyone.”
“The Women and Children’s Centre came to Telford’s hospital because of clinical need, to serve the young population. To move its specialist services, such an inpatients, away again so soon after it opened at a cost of £28million is madness.
“Many mums-to-be from Telford and Wrekin and other areas of the county for whom the Princess Royal Hospital is their nearest hospital would have to travel to Shrewsbury to have their babies in the consultant unit, as would all children going to the Children’s Assessment Unit.
“Forty percent of people currently using Telford’s A&E would have to travel further to Shrewsbury for their emergency care.
“The news for people across Shropshire and mid Wales isn’t any better. The majority of operations and procedures carried out at a hospital are not emergencies, but planned appointments. So, to site planned care at Telford would mean tens of thousands of people travelling further under their own steam for their appointments, then having to return home; again a further distance.
“In total, 38,000 more people would be inconvenienced under Future Fit’s stubbornly wanting to site full 24/7 emergency care and planned care in the wrong place.
He added: “Our preferred option is for Telford to house full 24/7 emergency care and the Women and Children’s Centre for the population that needs them.
“Our preferred option is that Shrewsbury be the base for planned care. This would be better for all those patients who have to make their own way to hospital at their own expense.
“And, our preferred option is also cheaper and quicker for the NHS to deliver.
“Of course, we would prefer to keep two A&Es, but the NHS says this is not an option. We have to choose the option that makes sense.”