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Future Fit: Shrewsbury MP meets Health Secretary to call for change in legislation

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

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski has met Health Secretary Matt Hancock to call for a change in government legislation to ensure Future Fit goes ahead.

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski with Health Secretary Matt Hancock

Mr Kawczynski says changes should be made to the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which overhauled the structure of the NHS and altered the way that healthcare is commissioned and provided.

Primary care trusts, which were in charge of buying and providing healthcare for their communities, were replaced by clinical commissioning groups to put clinicians at the centre of commissioning services.

But Kawczynski says it has caused severe delays to the Future Fit hospital reorganisation, following objections and threats of legal action.

Tomorrow, two motions are expected to be tabled at a meeting of Telford & Wrekin Council – one calling for a new hospital between Telford and Shrewsbury and the other for a "rapid feasibility study" of alternative options.

The current scheme, which was given the go-ahead by Mr Hancock last year, will place the county's main emergency centre in Shrewsbury and an "A&E Local" at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, which will also cater for planned care.

Mr Kawczynski said: "I wanted to let the Secretary of State know unequivocally that the destructive conduct of Telford & Wrekin Council has created gridlock in Shropshire with regards to Future Fit.

"I said to him if we are going to devolve power from Whitehall down to the people at the coalface of providing these services then we have to put in the right framework to protect the experts when they make a decision.

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"Their attempts to implement this have been repeatedly terminated by a medically illiterate body, Telford & Wrekin Council, which is using this as a political football.

"We now see the delays resulting in massive costs for this project.

'It's unsustainable'

"I understand we live in a democratic society but for six years to have a council holding a gun to our collective heads, it's unsustainable."

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Mr Kawczynski says he wants the government to consider changing parts of the Health and Social Care Act, which he calls "deeply flawed".

"It envisages people in the county coming together, working together to support the doctors to implement their recommendations," he said.

"I took a senior barrister into the meeting at my own expense.

"We have already prepared and presented the Secretary of State with detailed assessment of where the changes need to be made in order to accommodate these concerns.

"What I want to do is to ensure no other community has to go through what we've been through.

"If there's an opportunity to take Telford & Wrekin Council to court, we are keeping that option open."

Mr Kawczynski has also secured a debate in Westminster Hall today to discuss government funding for adult social care in Shropshire.

He said: "The problems with our local hospital trust are having a knock-on effect with Shropshire Council.

"This is a ticking timebomb and this is the worst problem they are facing.

"If we were funded on the national average we estimate there would be an extra £20 million for Shropshire Council."

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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