MP calls for answers over Future Fit delays amid 'heartbreaking' stories from constituents

An MP has called for answers on when a £312 million reorganisation of the county's hospitals will begin – amid "countless heartbreaking communications from families".

Daniel Kawczynski MP
Daniel Kawczynski MP

Shrewsbury & Atcham's Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski, has asked the new Health Secretary Steve Barclay, when the county's much-delayed Future Fit programme will actually begin.

The Future Fit saga has been ongoing for several years, with Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) given £312m for the project back in 2018.

Despite the award of the money the project has been mired in delays and challenges, with the pressure on the county's health services continuing to increase in the intervening period.

Currently the entire Shropshire health system is so busy that it has declared a second 'critical incident' of the year, where routine surgery and appointments are cancelled to make space for emergency treatment.

Issues with social care and space at both SaTH's hospitals, Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Princess Royal Hospital Telford (PRH), have had a knock-on on the region's ambulance service, with countless examples of patients facing huge waits for help to reach them.

The Future Fit plan would see RSH become the county's main 24-hour A&E, and PRH become the centre for planned care.

Consultant-led women and children's services would also move from Telford to Shrewsbury under the plan.

The government is currently reviewing a detailed plan for the proposals – before they get the green light.

The matter has been complicated by the fact that the proposals now cost considerably more than the £312m awarded in 2018.

It is understood that the plans submitted to the government earlier this year would cost more than £500m – leading to the NHS to request a 'cost compliant' option, which can be carried out for the £312m available.

It has not been revealed if this will result in the original Future Fit ambitions having to be scaled back.

In a letter to the Health Secretary Mr Kawczynski said progress on the issue was becoming more and more pressing.

He said: "Our A&E services are under massive and ongoing pressure, with distressed constituents consistently waiting many hours to be seen, sometimes in intolerable pain.

"Ambulances are queuing to deliver patients, and I am receiving countless heartbreaking communications from families who have experienced delays that they rightly feel unacceptable and potentially dangerously life threatening for their loved ones.

"The decision to finally approve this £312m investment is therefore critical, and I consider it to be the most crucial issue facing my constituency.

"I was informed at PMQs when I raised this issue that the construction will commence in 2023 with completion in 2028.

"May I also ask you for feedback on when you expect to authorise this decision and the anticipated date for construction to commence?"

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