Future Fit: 'Positive' meetings with independent panel
A panel asked by the Health Secretary to decide whether the Future Fit decision should be reviewed will return to Shropshire next week to interview council bosses.
The plan, which would see a re-organisation of both the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, is currently awaiting approval from the Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group's governance board was told during a meeting yesterday that the Independent Reconfiguration Panel visited the county over two days last week.
They met with clinicians, hospital bosses from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) and health commissioners.
David Evans, chief officer at Telford & Wrekin CCG, told the meeting: "They will be coming back next week to meet with both local authorities and some other stakeholders."
Health bosses at Shropshire CCG said the meeting had been 'positive'
Dr Julian Povey, chairman of Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "There were questions about how we arrived at the model, was it supported by colleagues, we also talked about the community modelling.
"The second part was looking at the finances and activity modelling. It was a positive meeting."
The panel will be making recommendations to Mr Hancock, who will ultimately decide if the review is necessary.
The Future Fit proposals, which were approved by Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin CCGs in January, would see Telford's Princess Royal Hospital lose its A&E and consultant-led women and children's services.
Both would be based at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, while PRH would become a centre for planned care.
Both PRH and RSH would have 24/7 urgent care centres, but the most seriously ill patients would be taken to Shrewsbury.
Yesterday, former PRH chief executive David Sandbach claimed the costs of the controversial scheme are “ballooning” and could soar to £420m, unless it is scaled back or the model is changed altogether.
Mr Evans told the meeting yesterday that the CCG expects the capital costs to remain at £312m.
He added: "There may be inflation which will need to be addressed when the time comes."
The outline business case for the scheme is being developed by SaTH.
Telford & Wrekin CCG's board was also told at the meeting that plans to dissolve the organisation, together with Shropshire CCG, to create a new single organisation for the county were on track.
It is planned this will happen from April next year.
Mr Evans said: "It is a challenging timescale but we are confident we can achieve that timescale."
Dr Povey said interviews for the new accountable officer job would be taking place later this month.
He said: "The overall process of forming a new CCG is on track.
"It's something we are confident we can deliver on.
"We are working with NHS England to achieve that."