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Future Fit: Call to build new emergency hospital to east of Shrewsbury

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

Shropshire's Future Fit health shake-up can still be delivered for £312 million if an emergency hospital is built to the east of Shrewsbury, an ex-hospital boss claims.

David Sandbach

David Sandbach, former chief executive of Telford's Princess Royal Hospital, says the facility should have 340 beds and that Royal Shrewsbury Hospital should then close.

He has suggested using PRH as the site for diagnostics and planned surgery, plus rehabilitation accommodation for east Shropshire residents.

Mr Sandbach claims there should be rehabilitation beds in care homes, an ambulatory care facility should be developed in Shrewsbury town centre and NHS tele-health services provided to all nursing and care homes in Shropshire.

It comes after Mr Sandbach said the cost of the Future Fit hospitals shake-up could rise to £420 million, claiming health bosses were considering their options.

His proposals have been penned in a letter to David Evans, chief officer of Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group.

In the letter, he says: "The Future Fit clinical model can be achieved as designed by the clinical staff working in the county; all-be-it the proposed emergency site is relocated to a different location from the one in the current plan.

"Significant amounts of capital will not be spent on refurbishing and adding onto an out of date building on the RSH site.

"All of the investment provided by the Government will be spent on a new emergency hospital."

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He says it would be 'fairer' for all residents who need to access emergency care.

Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Mr Sandbach also says improved access to dedicated rehabilitation facilities and an expanded community healthcare provision will prevent the problem of patients being in hospital beds when they no longer need to be there.

He says: "The funding available for the Future Fit plan, £312m should be sufficient to deliver this compromised proposal within the predicted build time table or sooner.

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"By rethinking what happens, where and how and by paying a lot more attention to the rehabilitation part of the patient pathway I think Shropshire and Mid Powys residents can get a really good emergency and planned hospital service which is known to work elsewhere."

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) is currently developing the outline business case for the scheme.

Health commissioners say they expect the capital costs to remain at £312m and the model will have to be delivered in line with what was consulted on.

The CCGs said the decision followed many years of planning, which has involved exploring over 40 initial ideas and following a robust assurance process with NHS England.

Transformation

In a statement released in response to Mr Sandbach's letter, Mr Evans and David Stout, interim accountable officer at Shropshire CCG, said: “The joint committee of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin CCGs made a decision in January to transform the way that local hospital services are provided.

"SaTH has confirmed that the transformation plans which we consulted on can be delivered within the agreed capital costs of £312m.

"This will mean that PRH will become a planned care site and RSH will become an emergency care site.

"At both hospitals, patients will be able to access outpatient services, 24-hour urgent care, midwife-led services and tests.

“The doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff who work in our hospitals have led on developing this new model of care.

"Together we are confident that improving our hospitals in this way will result in better care for patients across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales."

It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock is yet to decide whether to review the decision.

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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