Future Fit: Shrewsbury MP urges Telford council leader to respect result of independent panel
Shrewsbury’s MP has challenged the leader of Telford & Wrekin Council to respect the outcome of a panel tasked with deciding if the Future Fit decision should be reviewed.
Daniel Kawczynski said any further delays to the decision to change Shropshire’s hospitals could result in a loss of lives.
But Councillor Shaun Davies said he would do anything to prevent Princess Royal Hospital from losing its A&E and consultant-led women and children’s services.
Under the planned changes, Royal Shrewsbury Hospital would house the county’s only A&E, with planned care being based in Telford.
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.
In a letter to Councillor Davies by Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Mr Kawczynski, he wrote: “Healthcare in Shropshire and Mid Wales is primed to receive £312 million of investment into its infrastructure and 300 doctors and surgeons have worked tirelessly to come up with the most effective way to provide our healthcare services for the future.
“At the insistence of Telford & Wrekin Council, the Secretary of State for Health has been asked to review the approved proposals.
“I am writing to inform you that I will abide by the outcome of the IRP decision. I am seeking assurance that you too will respect the outcome of the panel and, should the panel agree with the decision of Shropshire and Telford Clinical Commissioning Groups, you will allow our clinicians to get on with implementing the changes.
“I consider that any further delay would put at risk the lives of patients and jeopardise the financial commitment that has been secured.
'We take nothing off the table'
“I am seeking assurance that you too will respect the outcome of the panel and, should the panel agree with decision of Shropshire and Telford Clinical Commissioning Groups, you will allow our clinicians to get on with implementing the changes.”
Councillor Davies said “nothing was off the table” in the fight for services to remain in Telford.
He said Telford & Wrekin Council would put the needs of the borough’s residents first in the fight over the future of Shropshire’s hospitals.
In response to the letter from Mr Kawczynski, Councillor Davies said: “I’ve received Daniel’s letter and will reply in due course.
“We will study the report of the panel very carefully before deciding any next steps.
"Any next steps will centre around the best interests of the residents we represent. We take nothing off the table.
“We hope the MPs for Telford and The Wrekin have done their job to compliment the work that the council has done to persuade the new government to finally block this move which simply doesn’t make sense.”
The IRP has been interviewing hospital staff, council officials and other interested groups this month to gather evidence for when it draws up its recommendations.
Mr Hancock is expected to be informed what they are at the end of the month, and he will then have the ultimate say.
As well as Shrewsbury’s A&E, 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.