Future Fit: Council leader has 'constructive' meeting with panel
Telford & Wrekin Council's leader says he had a 'constructive' meeting with the panel tasked with deciding if the Future Fit decision should be reviewed.
The Independent Reconfiguration Panel has the power to influence whether Health Secretary Matt Hancock should call for a review of the controversial £312 million hospital shake-up plan.
Its recommendations are to be passed to Mr Hancock at the end of the month, and he will then have the ultimate say.
Councillor Shaun Davies, the leader of Telford & Wrekin Council – which has asked for the review, was visited by the panel on Wednesday.
He said: “This is a very important part of the referral process and I welcome the fact that the submission we made earlier in writing is being taken so seriously.
“In our meeting, I re-iterated our strongly held belief based on evidence that the plans are not in the best interests of the health service in the area.
"Among the points I made were that these plans will not transform the whole system of healthcare and that these plans are not backed up by sufficient investment in out of hospital care."
He said he stressed that Telford is the fastest growing town in the region and has clear clinical need for the women and children’s centre at Princess Royal Hospital.
Councillor Davies added: “I also spoke about our lack of confidence in the NHS in the way it tried to railroad these plans through.
“This was a very constructive meeting.
"I hope that when the independent reconfiguration panel reports back, the Secretary of State for Health will think very carefully about the chances of these plans actually succeeding in transforming our local health services.”
The panel has already interviewed hospital staff, bosses, health commissioners and other interested groups.
If the plans are allowed to press ahead, a single emergency centre for the county would be based at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and pre-planned operations would be carried out at PRH.
The hospital in Telford would also lose it's consultant-led women and children's services.
Urgent care centres operating 24/7 would be set up at both PRH and RSH.
Health commissioners made their decision on Future Fit in January, following a public consultation last year.
It comes amid concerns that the cost of the scheme is escalating, but health bosses say they believe the plans can be delivered within the agreed capital costs.
To find out more about Future Fit visit nhsfuturefit.org