Shrewsbury health hub row: Venue change for public meeting due to high demand

A public meeting where health bosses will face residents over controversial plans to move six Shrewsbury GP surgeries into a "super hub" has been moved into one of the biggest churches in town due to demand.

The meeting to discuss Shrewsbury Health and Wellbeing Hub has been moved from the Guildhall in Frankwell Quay to St Chad's Church. There is also expected to be a protest held before the event on October 4.

The proposals have sparked criticism over transport and access concerns, and several demonstrations against the hub have already taken place.

Shrewsbury councillors unanimously voted in favour of a motion calling for an extraordinary public meeting, in which health bosses and other leaders can come face to face with the public over the plans.

Councillor Kate Halliday, chair of a Shrewsbury Town Council working group set up to scrutinise the hub proposals, said the seats at the Guildhall were snapped up so quickly that a change of venue was necessary.

"The council are really pleased that there has been so much interest in the extraordinary public meeting," she said.

"The seats at the Guildhall were all taken in less than 24 hours and so staff moved quickly to change the venue to St Chad's which will be able to seat more people. We are keen that residents get a chance to put their questions to those who are involved in decision making on the hub and encourage people to attend."

NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin ICS wants to build the hub, which would be financed by NHS England. It had been suggested it could open in summer 2025, and the preferred location was revealed to be land on Oteley Road, near Shrewsbury Town FC's Montgomery Waters Meadow stadium. Health bosses say it represents a "significant investment" in GP services in the town.

However, concerns have been raised over transport to the proposed location, and worries that patients may lose the continuity and relationships with their GPs if practices are amalgamated into the new facility.

A planned consultation which was expected to go ahead from October into December was postponed as bosses "review additional options".

Chiefs have said transport options are something which are being looked into, and a letter signed by doctors from Marden Medical Practice - one of the surgeries which would be involved in the move - told patients they would continue to be seen by the same doctors.

A campaign group called Shrewsbury GPs Proposed Changes encouraged people to take part in a protest before the extraordinary public meeting starts.

In an online post, the group said: "We would encourage people to arrive a little early and bring banners to explain your own reasons why you may wish to protest against the changes. We will be doing so outside from 5.30pm."

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