Future Fit: Key meeting to decide if public consultation can start over Shropshire health plans
Health officials will meet next week to decide if plans to reorganise Shropshire’s health services should go out to public consultation.
A key panel meeting has been organised for Thursday to provide formal assurance to NHS England over the Future Fit process.
After this NHS England will then inform Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin clinical commissioning groups if public consultation can take place.
The panel meeting was delayed by a few weeks after NHS England asked the clinical commissioning groups to submit a number of clarifications relating to a recent review and hospital bed numbers. That information has now been provided.
The two CCGs are in the final stages of preparing for a public consultation on the Future Fit programme, which is recommending the creation of a main emergency centre at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, with the Princess Royal in Telford becoming the centre for planned care.
Phil Evans, director for Future Fit, said: "The next key point is a panel meeting with NHS England in Coventry on October 19.
"NHS England then has seven days to let us know the outcome before we can launch the 14-week consultation."
Bosses had hoped they could start public consultation in June, but due to not finding anyone to carry out the independent review, three months after it was announced, Future Fit was delayed further.
The Future Fit process, which could see one of the county’s A&E units set up at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital department downgraded, began more than three years ago.
It has since spent millions of pounds on deciding where hospital services should be located.
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.
This has now been carried out. It concluded that there was no guarantee the money needed to make the proposed changes will be available
It raised three areas of concern, which as well as funding, included the need for a proper plan for the future of community car.
Health bosses agreed that there has been no material evidence presented in the independent review, or in the women and children’s reports, that should change the original recommendations to the joint committee as set out in December 2016 and therefore they should be reaffirmed.
This included a recommendation with regard to a preferred option to go to public consultation on the proposed changes to hospital services.
Following the go-ahead from NHS England, plans are expected to go to public consultation and a final decision will then be made next year.