Telford council leader in fresh attack on Future Fit plans
Telford's council leader has renewed his criticism of Future Fit, saying the plans make "no sense" and go against the people of the borough.
Shaun Davies, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council has renewed his call for the government to step in over the plans, as health officials backed the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) as the preferred location for the county's only A&E.
The move would see Princess Royal Hospital Telford (PRH) lose its A&E department, with the site taking over planned care for the county.
Under the proposal both PRH and RSH would have urgent care centres.
A vote on whether to proceed with the preferred option will be taken on January 29.
Councillor Davies said he wanted county health bosses to follow "the will of the people", and reconsider their move.
The official consultation on the plans saw two thirds of respondents 'disagree' or 'strongly disagree' with the preferred option of the A&E – officially described at the emergency centre – at RSH.
The hospital which hosts the A&E would also be the location for the consultant-led women and children's unit – currently based at PRH.
Councillor Davies said: "We argued that, by keeping the women and children’s centre in Telford alongside emergency care and a full 24/7 A&E, less money would be needed to upgrade hospital buildings. The costs of paying back that extra £62 million can go on community health services to keep people out of hospital in the first place.
“The public agreed with us and showed their support for this option. Yet, Future Fit, which includes representatives from Telford and Wrekin, has ploughed on, arguing the case for its more expensive option, costing millions pounds more on unnecessary moves such as taking the women and children’s centre out of Telford just four years after spending £28 million building it."
Councillor Davies said the decision to spend money on buildings went against the aspirations of the NHS Long Term Plan to focus on services in the community to cut down on hospital admissions.
He said: “Instead Future Fit wants to ignore this and carry on wasting money on hospital buildings when a cheaper option that gives the same services is there. So much more could be done with the £312 million borrowing that Future Fit’s preferred option will need.
“To plough on with its own preference makes no sense. It goes against the will of the people, the very people the NHS Plan should work with. It goes against the NHS Plan itself.
“It simply makes no sense; something I repeatedly have said over the last four years and have called on the Government through the Health Secretary to intervene.
“The Government would be writing the £312 million cheque, giving health bosses here the financial loan.
“This money must be spent wisely to provide the best possible health service in line with the NHS’ future plans.
“I call again on the Secretary of State for Health to step in to make sure it is.”
Future Fit response
Mr David Evans, Chief Officer of Telford & Wrekin CCG and Dr Simon Freeman, Accountable Officer, NHS Shropshire CCG commented: “We would like to thank everyone who took the time to have their say during the Future Fit consultation.
"We value all feedback and would like to assure people that all comments have been taken into account as part of our ‘conscientious consideration’ phase. Your comments have also helped inform what plans the CCGs needed to put in place to help lessen any negative impact that the chosen option may have on our communities.
“We have made it clear throughout the process that the consultation, as with any public consultation, is not a vote. It was about giving people the opportunity to share their views on our proposals to change their local hospital services and the impact that either option may have on them and their family.
“The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed its support for the Future Fit programme by making available up to £312 million to improve our hospital services for people in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales.
"This funding has been approved by DHSC because it has passed the clinical and affordability tests of NHS England and NHS Improvement (our regulators), NHS Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Shropshire CCG and we are confident that both options are affordable.
“Although the building costs for the preferred option (Option 1) are more, Option 1 provides the best value for money and greatest long-term benefit for every pound spent for people in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Mid Wales.
“The redesign of hospital services set out in the Long Term Plan highlights the need for services to change. Staying as we are is not safe or sustainable for the future. The changes we are proposing will ensure that patients will receive safe, high quality care. These changes mean that our two hospitals can continue to serve the people of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and mid Wales for a long time to come.”