Future Fit consultation looks set for New Year
Consultation on the future of accident and emergency services in the county will only begin this year if NHS England gives the go-ahead in the next few days.
The Future Fit programme had been intending to begin consulting with the public in December. But health bosses admitted yesterday that it now looks likely to start in 2018, when the meetings and discussion gets underway.
At a meeting of Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin councils, joint health scrutiny members were given an update on the Future Fit programme, which is looking at the future of hospital care for the area.
After months of delays, Future Fit had intended to begin consulting on various plans for the county’s hospitals.
The plans include a preferred option of having one emergency centre at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, along with women and children’s services, with urgent care centres at both The Princess Royal and Royal Shrewsbury Hospitals.
The urgent care centre would see about 80 per cent of those who currently use accident and emergency. Planned surgery would be centred on the Princess Royal.
David Evans, who heads Future Fit, said there had been a video conference to discuss matters with NHS England two weeks ago.
He said that they had been pleased with progress and that the county is now awaiting the green light to proceed.
“They were satisfied with where we are and we are now awaiting their official decision that would enable us to go out to consultation,” he said. “We are expecting that decision in the next two or three weeks.
“If we hear from them this week it may be that consultation can start before Christmas. But if not, it is likely it will be in the New Year. We do not want people to say that we are trying to bury the consultation in the Christmas period.”