Future Fit: Shropshire hospital plans need 'fundamental' rethink says council leader

The latest developments in plans to reorganise the county's major hospitals are more evidence of a need to go back to the drawing board, according to a council leader.

Telford & Wrekin Council’s leader has reiterated his call for a rethink over the plans to re-organise hospitals
Telford & Wrekin Council’s leader has reiterated his call for a rethink over the plans to re-organise hospitals

Earlier this week it was revealed that the NHS had asked Shrewsbury & Telford Hospitals NHS Trust (SaTH) to include a cheaper option as part of its 'Future Fit' plans to reorganise both Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

The trust had been awarded £312m for the project in 2018, but it is understood that the costs of the proposal have risen, and when submitted in October last year, the same proposal was valued at more than £500m.

The NHS has asked for the trust to put forward an option that can be paid for with the £312m it was previously allocated.

Councillor Shaun Davies, leader of Telford and Wrekin Council, has opposed the scheme due to concerns over loss of services for the borough.

He the proposals now need to be "fundamentally reviewed".

He said: “The world has changed significantly since the original Future Fit proposals were put forward, not least as a result of the pandemic and the intense pressure the NHS is under.

“Rather than working up plans to a monetary figure that is no longer relevant, the proposals need to be fundamentally reviewed to meet the needs of our communities in a post-pandemic world both now and for the future.

“Whatever happens with Future Fit it doesn’t help us with the issues we have right now with ambulance waits, GP access and planned operation waiting lists. I am also concerned about what a £312m budget would mean for our A&E and for our women and children’s unit.

“We shouldn’t be scaling back, we should be fighting for what we need for our communities.”

The proposals to reorganise both Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital – both managed by SaTH – date back nearly 10 years.

Under the scheme, Shrewsbury's hospital will house the county’s main A&E with PRH losing its consultant-led women and children’s services and becoming the site for planned care.

Both hospitals were also originally due to get urgent care centres, but after the plans were reviewed in 2019 former health secretary Matt Hancock asked NHS England to provide advice on how the "urgent care model" at PRH could be delivered through an "A&E Local".

The NHS trust that runs the hospitals said the enhanced urgent care model at PRH will be staffed by "highly skilled senior health professionals".

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