Future Fit allowed to go ahead with emergency centre in Shrewsbury
The Health Secretary has written to the leader of Telford & Wrekin Council saying he has accepted advice that Future Fit should proceed with the county's emergency centre based in Shrewsbury.
Matt Hancock had asked an independent panel to consider whether the plans needed to be reviewed, following a formal referral from Telford & Wrekin Council.
The Independent Reconfiguration Panel interviewed health bosses, clinicians, council officials and other interested groups in July before making its recommendations to Mr Hancock.
It has been just over eight months since health commissioners rubber-stamped plans for Royal Shrewsbury Hospital to be the base for Shropshire's only emergency centre.
Telford's Princess Royal Hospital would then be responsible for planned care and both hospitals would have urgent care centres.
In a letter to Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies, Mr Hancock confirmed he had accepted the panel's advice that said: "The new model of hospital care should be implemented, and that the emergency care centre is better located at the RSH.
"The urgent care model should enable as much clinically appropriate care to be delivered at the PRH as possible."
The letter continues: "It is clear to me that both of the above recommendations are inextricably linked.
"I have therefore asked NHS England to provide advice on how the 'urgent care model' at PRH can be delivered through an 'A&E Local'.
"Given that the first recommendation should not proceed without clarity on the second, I have asked NHS England to provide advice on the 'A&E Local' model as soon as possible and to report back on progress within one month."
The Future Fit scheme has been at the centre of controversy for years, with campaigners holding marches, protests and organising petitions.
The proposals were approved by Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin clinical commissioning groups in January.
But Telford & Wrekin Council made the referral to the Secretary of State in March because it believes that Future Fit is not in the best interests of patients.
In response to the letter, Councillor Davies said: "I'm absolutely devastated that our powerful and common sense arguments have been ignored.
"It's a kick in the teeth to Telford & Wrekin residents and residents in Shropshire.
"I would like Boris Johnson or Matt Hancock to have the decency to come to Telford and have a round table with all politicians to understand the feelings here.
"We as a council have done all we can. Mark Pritchard and Lucy Allan need to do everything they can to ensure this doesn't happen."
Julian Povey, chair of Shropshire CCG, said it was 'fantastic news' adding 'we need to all get behind the plan'.