Future Fit: Council leader urges health bosses to 'do the right thing' and back A&E at Telford
The leader of Telford & Wrekin Council has made an impassioned plea to the area’s health bosses, calling on them to back option two in the Future Fit consultation.
Councillor Shaun Davies addressed Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group’s governance board at a recent meeting, where health chiefs also announced that additional Future Fit public exhibition events have been planned in Whitchurch and Newport.
They will be at Cosy Hall, Water Lane, Newport, on August 9 and Whitchurch Civic Centre, High Street, Whitchurch, on August 21, from 3.30pm to 7.30pm.
Option two would see a single emergency centre for the county based at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital, with Royal Shrewsbury Hospital taking on responsibility for planned care.
However, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin CCGs previously signed off on a preferred option which would site the emergency centre at RSH.
The plans include setting up urgent care centres at both hospitals.
But at Telford & Wrekin CCG's governance board meeting on Tuesday, Councillor Davies called on Telford & Wrekin CCG to back option two in the consultation.
He said the CCG should ignore any rumours of abolition or merger with other NHS bodies if it speaks out against option one and instead join the council and together fight for the residents they represent.
Councillor Davies said: "We must do what is right for our residents and option two is not just better for our borough, it is better for everybody.
“Both options provide exactly the same services but by preferring to have planned care in Telford, you favoured the option that is far more expensive and impacts the most people, moving care away from concentrations of people who most need it.
“Two-thirds of all children and pregnant women admitted to hospital live nearer the PRH.
"It would be madness to move the women and children’s centre from PRH just four years after it opened at a cost of £28 million. Why move it when the clinical need is here?
“Why site the county’s only emergency centre in Shrewsbury when average emergency travel times are shorter to the PRH?
“Why concentrate planned operations in Telford when more than half those having planned care live nearer to the RSH?
“Future Fit’s own impact assessment highlights the difficulties older people, in particular in the West, have trying to get themselves to hospital for their operations."
He told the board that option one could cost at least £3.3 million per year more in borrowing money, claiming it could be better spent on primary and community services to keep people out of hospital.
He pleaded: “You are here to represent the interests of the people of Telford and Wrekin, so do the right thing – back the option that is better for the majority, not just here but elsewhere. That’s option two.”
He said he would also be sending each board member a copy of the council’s response to the consultation, which closes on September 4.
David Evans, senior responsible officer for Telford & Wrekin CCG, said: “We welcomed and listened to the views of Councillor Davies at the Telford & Wrekin CCG board on Tuesday. However, it’s important to note that this is a public consultation so we want to hear your views on the two options and the impact that these may have on you and your family.
“We are urging everyone to take time to read the consultation document, come to our events to talk to our clinicians and tell us your views."
Future Fit public exhibition events, which have so far taken place in Telford, Shrewsbury, Newtown, Ludlow and Wellington, have allowed people to speak directly with clinicians.
There were due to be three more similar events, but two additional public exhibitions have now been planned in Whitchurch and Newport.