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Cost of Future Fit could soar to £420 million, warns former hospital chief

By Lisa O'Brien | Shrewsbury | Health | Published:

The cost of Shropshire's Future Fit hospitals shake-up could rise to £420 million, the former chief executive of Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital has claimed.

The outline business case for the scheme, planned to cost £312m, is being developed by The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH).

Health commissioners say they expect the capital costs to remain at £312m, while hospital chiefs have pledged to get the most for patients out of the investment.

However, former PRH chief executive David Sandbach claims the costs of the controversial scheme are “ballooning” and options are being looked into on finding a way forward.

David Sandbach

It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock is yet to decide whether to review the decision by health bosses to have a single emergency centre for the county based in Shrewsbury – which could ultimately place the scheme in jeopardy.

Mr Sandbach, who has written to SaTH’s chairman about his concerns, claims a document prepared for the sustainable services program steering group last month revealed the cost of delivering Future Fit has escalated to around £420m.

He claims health bosses are now considering three options on how to move forward:

  • Deliver the whole scheme for £420m
  • Deliver £312m of the work on a priority basis
  • Break down the work into two phases, delivering what is possible now and looking at other options for the future

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In his letter to SaTH’s chairman Ben Reid, Mr Sandbach wrote: “The costs associated with the Future Fit build programme are ballooning – this issue was noted during the consultation period and ignored by the clinical commissioning groups in the decision-making business case.

“Chickens are now coming home to roost; it would not surprise me if the capital profile for the Future Fit plan reached circa £450,000,000+.”

Expectations

The decision on Future Fit, which was made by a joint committee of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups, means PRH will take over responsibility for planned care in the future. Both PRH and RSH would have 24/7 urgent care centres, but the most seriously ill patients would be taken to Shrewsbury.

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Paula Clark, interim chief executive at SaTH, said work on the draft outline business cases is ongoing.

She added: "We want to make sure that this investment into the NHS in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin is used to best meet the needs of all of the population we serve."

In a joint statement, David Evans, chief officer at Telford & Wrekin CCG, and David Stout, interim accountable officer at Shropshire CCG, said: “We can confirm that the CCGs’ expectations are that the capital cost will remain within £312m.

"A detailed cost breakdown will be provided in the draft outline business case which is currently being developed by SaTH and will be available in the autumn.”

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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