Future Fit hospital reorganisation plan scaled down to focus on ‘core elements’

Plans to overhaul the county’s major hospitals will not include all the work originally intended – due to cost.

The proposals will see a major shake-up of the way the county's hospitals operate
The proposals will see a major shake-up of the way the county's hospitals operate

In the past week it has been revealed that Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s (SaTH) Future Fit proposals have taken a significant step forward with the approval of the ‘Strategic Outline Case’ (SOC), by the Government and the NHS.

However, it has emerged that while the plans include the ‘core elements’ of the original proposals for Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Princess Royal Hospital (PRH), some parts will not feature.

The change is due to the increased cost of the project and the need for the work to be completed within its £312m budget.

It is understood health bosses will try to apply for future funding to complete all of the original aims of the plan – which included improvements to accommodation at RSH.

Despite the development the core parts of the plans – for RSH to become the county’s only A&E and home to consultant led women and children’s services, and PRH being the centre for planned care – are unchanged.

Health bosses have argued the work is vital for patients.

The development is not unexpected, as it was revealed earlier this year that the trust had been told its plans were too expensive, and to come back with an option “compliant” with the £312m allocated. It is thought the proposal submitted had been around the £500m mark. However, inflation has impacted the project since the cash was awarded in 2018.

However, after a succession of delays, plans for the two hospitals have taken a significant step forward in recent days.

The Government and the NHS last week confirmed that the Strategic Outline Case (SOC) for the Future Fit re-design of the hospitals had been approved. It has since been revealed that the plan approved by the government is not the same as submitted by SaTH last October, but will focus on the “core elements” of the original plan. It is understood that the local NHS will seek extra funding in future to achieve the wider ambitions of the original plan.

PRH will become the centre for planned care, and will also have an ‘A&E Local’, while both hospitals will have urgent care centres. The trust has said the project will allow it to address critical issues, and added that the SOC approval is an “exciting step forward towards improving health outcomes and patient experience for the local population”.

Speaking earlier this week Louise Barnett, chief executive at SaTH, said: “This new model of care will address major challenges presented by duplicated and fragmented services and ageing infrastructure – issues which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“HTP supports our vision for our communities to benefit from excellent local services including a modern Emergency Department which provides immediate access to medical and surgical specialities, setting new national standards for the delivery of enhanced urgent care through our A&E Local model in Telford and supporting our long-term ambitions to become a recognised leader in the delivery of day case services.”

The next stage will see the submission of an outline business case, before a final business case is put forward.

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