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Future Fit: Call for 'rapid feasibility study' to reconsider options

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

Telford & Wrekin Council will be asked to support a call for a "rapid feasibility study" of alternatives to the current Future Fit hospital shake-up plans.

Telford's Princess Royal Hospital and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

A motion, which will be put forward by Councillor Andy Burford at a meeting of the full council tomorrow, says the current plans should be rejected and a feasibility study should consider other options, including a new hospital site and retaining full A&E provision at both Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Telford's Princess Royal Hospital (PRH).

It asks for the authority to call upon Shropshire Council and all local MPs to work together with Telford & Wrekin Council and make an agreed case to the Health Secretary to instruct that the feasibility work is undertaken in partnership with the local authorities.

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The motion also says that "significant additional investment" is needed in accessible, local primary and secondary services across Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire to reduce pressure on acute hospital services.

It comes after a document leaked to the Shropshire Star last month revealed the cost of the original plans had risen from £312m to almost £500m.

The current plans involve having the county's main emergency centre in Shrewsbury, with an 'A&E Local' at PRH, which would also take over responsibility for planned care.

The motion, proposed by the council's cabinet member for health and social care, states: "We note with concern that the cost of Future Fit has spiralled out of control to £498 million with every indication that this will go higher still.

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"This astronomical increase in cost makes Future Fit uneconomical and unfair and flies in the face of the need for a balanced approach to investment across the whole system which can deliver a viable solution to the current crisis in our local NHS.

"This more balanced approach must include a significant additional investment in accessible, local primary and secondary services across Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire which will reduce pressure on acute hospital services; a rejection of the current plan to pour a large majority of the available capital into crumbling hospital infrastructure contrary to the spirit and intent of the NHS Long Term Plan and a rapid feasibility study of the alternatives to the current proposal for acute reconfiguration to include both the option of a new site dedicated either to A&E alone or to all hospital services for Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire and the option of retaining full A&E provision at both sites including the retention of the Women and Children’s Centre at PRH.

"In order to progress these alternatives, and in the absence of fresh thinking from local NHS leaders, we call upon Shropshire Council and all local MPs to meet with this council administration to make an agreed case to the Secretary of State to instruct that the feasibility work outlined above is undertaken in partnership with the local authorities.”

Councillor Andrew Eade, Conservative group leader on Telford & Wrekin Council, is also expected to table a motion at the meeting calling for the council to support the provision of a new hospital in between Telford and Shrewsbury.

He is also calling for the council to send a "fact finding member/officer delegation to Cramlington in Northumbria to review health service provision and best practice at that site".

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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