PMQs: Theresa May says Future Fit decision should be left to doctors
The Prime Minister today said the decision about the controversial shake-up of Shropshire's hospitals should be left to clinicians in the county.
Theresa May spoke out about the £320 million Future Fit programme after Shrewsbury & Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski raised questions about delays to the scheme.
The much-delayed scheme, which would see all blue-light emergency cases dealt with at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, was called in by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in March.
This followed representations from Telford & Wrekin Council, which objected to the loss of the emergency department at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital.
During this afternoon's Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Kawczynski told Mrs May that 300 doctors, surgeons and clinicians had been at the forefront of major reconfiguration and modernisation proposals for accident and emergency services in the county.
Watch Theresa May's response to Daniel Kawczynski:
"We have secured £320 million for these vital changes, but Labour-controlled Telford Council, an organisation bereft of any medical expertise, has repeatedly prevented these vital changes from taking place," he said.
"Will the Prime Minister update the House on when this long-running saga is going to come to an end, and my doctors and clinicians going to be able to get back to their day jobs?"
Mrs May said she was aware that there were concerns about the Future Fit programme.
"I understand my right honourable friend the Health Secretary has referred this programme to the independent reconfiguration panel, and the Department of Health will be studying that advice carefully before making this decision," she said.
"We have a simple view that it is the clinicians who should take these decisions, because it is the local clinicians who know what decisions need to be taken."
Earlier this week, Mr Kawczynski accused Telford & Wrekin Council of putting lives at risk by continued delays to the Future Fit scheme.
“Now, six years after we have asked all those clinicians for their advice, we face more delays because a medically illiterate body that is Telford & Wrekin Council can hold a gun to our collective heads," he said.
Councillor Shaun Davies, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, defended the council's role in asking the Health Secretary to call the decision in.
"Daniel continues to engage in name calling, bullying and misrepresenting the views of Telford & Wrekin Council, our communities and many doctors in our area on this and other issues," he said.
“We have successfully secured a review into these decisions and the council and others are in the process of giving evidence to that review.
“There is a compelling case to have a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day a week A & E in Telford, the fastest growing town in the Midlands, and the medical reasons for the retention of the consultant-led women-and-children service is compelling.
“It is this council that continues to fight for services for Telford and Wrekin, and those Shropshire Council communities around Telford and Wrekin, and we will not be bullied into silence.”