Departure of Shropshire hospitals boss 'the right decision', says Telford MP Lucy Allan
The departure of the man at the helm of the county's major hospitals is "the right decision", Telford MP Lucy Allan has said.
The Conservative MP welcomed the shock announcement that Simon Wright would be leaving his post as chief executive of Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust (Sath).
It comes as Sath, which manages both Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) Telford, awaits news on whether Future Fit plans for the reorganisation of its hospitals will be allowed to go ahead.
The controversial plan, which is opposed by Ms Allan and Telford & Wrekin Council, would see the county’s only A&E based at RSH, along with women and children’s services, meaning PRH would lose its A&E and consultant-led Women & Children’s unit.
- Mixed reaction as Shropshire hospitals chief steps down
- Shropshire hospitals chief Simon Wright leaves role
Clinicians have argued that the reorganisation is the only way to provide effective services for the public in the future.
Telford & Wrekin Council has asked the Health Minister Matt Hancock to review the plans, and on Monday it was confirmed that an independent review panel had passed advice to the Secretary of state for him to make his judgement.
Ms Allan said the concerns over the management of the hospital trust, which is in special measures after a critical CQC inspection last year, meant a change in leadership was welcome.
She said: "The trust has experienced a number of serious failings over the last 18 months which have been hugely concerning to residents and staff alike. The threatened night time closure of the A&E which never happened was just one example of very poor decision making.
“Clearly, it is a difficult job within an aggressively politicised context. However, there was a naivety about the outgoing CEO and a failure to recognise shortcomings which was alarming in someone holding such a senior position.
“This is a difficult time for the trust given that it remains in special measures and continues to receive warnings from the CQC."
Ms Allan and Telford & Wrekin Council have both said that in light of the situation Future Fit should be abandoned.
She said: "This is not the time to be embarking on the hugely controversial restructuring that is Future Fit. The trust needs to be stabilised with a new executive team in place before pursuing any form of restructuring.
“The Future Fit process over the last five years has been detrimental to the trust and to the service it provides to residents.
“Now the Health Secretary has the issue on his desk, I hope that the decision can be made to halt Future Fit and the give the trust a chance to tackle the existing challenges it so clearly faces.”
Councillor Shaun Davies, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council has also urged the Health Secretary to act.
He said: "Over the last four years this council time and time again asked the Secretary of State to intervene – now he has no choice but to finally do so.
“This is another indication of the strong grounds for our referral which has now passed through another phase of the process.
“The Secretary of State has ample information. He has the power to ensure that any decision is made properly with full consultation and the full facts, particularly about how such a scheme can be afforded when there is no confirmation that the trust even has the full £312 million it needs to borrow to make Future Fit happen while its full business case has yet to be approved."