MP hits back over Labour opposition to county's hospital plans

An MP has warned that rival politicians’ opposition to £312m hospital plans could put the project at risk.

Daniel Kawczynski MP
Daniel Kawczynski MP

Daniel Kawczynski has made the comments in a letter to the chairman of Shrewsbury & Atcham’s Labour Party, Paul Forrest, over the proposed ‘Future Fit’ re-organisation of services at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

The pair have been involved in a back-and-forth row over backing for the project after it cleared its most significant hurdle yet – government and NHS support for its strategic outline case, which was approved last month.

Following the approval Mr Kawczynski, Conservative MP for Shrewsbury & Atcham, had written to Mr Forrest, calling on his group to support the plans.

In a response Mr Forrest said either he, nor the group, could support the plans, because they believe both Telford and Shrewsbury should retain full A&E departments.

Under Future Fit RSH will become home to the county’s only full 24-hour A&E.

Mr Forrest added that he believed the plans were a method of cutting costs.

Now Mr Kawczynski has responded, saying that the plans had been supported by hundreds of local medics, and would help tackle the county’s ambulance crisis.

He said: “I understand that you and your colleagues are apprehensive about the Future Fit proposals. As politicians, the positions we take on issues must be informed. My position to support these proposals was informed by them also being supported by over three hundred local clinicians, which I pointed out in my original letter.

“I notice that you and your colleagues have not recognised this fact.

“Towards the end of your letter’s first page you state that ‘we support effective change and modernisation, but only when it leads to improved patient outcomes’.

“However, the hundreds of clinicians supporting these proposals do so because they will improve patient outcomes.

“Undoubtedly their knowledge, expertise, and years of experience should not, and cannot be ignored.

“These proposals will upgrade the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital’s facilities to provide modern emergency care. You and your colleagues claim that the proposals are not a programme that will improve services. I beg to differ because the current model is no longer fit for purpose, with fragmented and inefficient services.

“You mention the ambulance situation in your letter, which is deeply concerning, but the inadequacy of RSH’s facilities partly causes it.

“Pressing ahead with the £312 million investment to implement these proposals is desperately needed by the people of Shropshire and Mid Wales.”

“The approach you and your party have taken, opposing the proposals, would refuse the investment of £312m urgently required.

"Your opposition could result in further delays in implementing the urgent upgrades, or worse, the loss of our local services losing out on the £312m investment. I would welcome you to outline your party’s alternative proposals to the ones currently on the table.”

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