Future Fit response rate climbs past one per cent
More than one per cent of the population served by Shropshire's two main hospitals have now responded to the Future Fit consultation.
Pam Schreier, head of communications and engagement for Future Fit, told a meeting of Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group's governing body that more than 5,700 people have now completed surveys.
She said many of the respondents had been over the age of 59.
More than 600 people have also attended public exhibition events across the county and in Powys, where clinicians have been able to explain the two options put forward.
Under the plans by health bosses, there will be a single countywide emergency department based at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital or Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.
Health chiefs want to separate emergency and planned care.
At the consultation's mid-point review it emerged around 0.5 per cent of the population had responded, which Dr Julian Povey, chairman of Shropshire CCG, said was in keeping with similar public consultations which have happened around the country.
The figure has since risen to just over one per cent.
But the leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, Councillor Shaun Davies, has called the response rate "exceptionally poor".
Telford & Wrekin Council has now sent every household in the borough the official Future Fit survey, along with a leaflet from the authority to encourage residents to have their say.
Councillor Davies said he had been 'flabbergasted' by the amount of people he had spoken to across Telford and Wrekin who did not know what Future Fit is.
He said: "Heath bosses locally have waited for residents to go to them, whether that be a public exhibition in a community centre, NHS bosses have not gone to residents.
"I asked them to send out the consultation paper to each and every household in the borough and they have declined, so we have decided to do it for them."
Councillor Davies says having the county's emergency centre at PRH, under option two, would be far less expensive, freeing up money he argues could be spent on other areas of healthcare.
He says it will also make sure the women and children's centre is retained at PRH.
The preferred option by health bosses is for RSH to site the county's emergency centre and for PRH to take over responsibility for planned care.
The public consultation has been extended by a week to September 11.
People can also fill in the Future Fit survey online at nhsfuturefit.org