Shropshire Star

Telford & Wrekin councillors vow to keep fighting hospital plan that would see town's A&E downgraded

Telford & Wrekin councillors have vowed to continue fighting controversial hospital shake-up plans that would see the borough's A&E downgraded.

Councillor Shaun Davies at Princess Royal Hospital

At a Telford & Wrekin Council meeting on Thursday, councillors unanimously agreed to continue to fight the Future Fit plans and to lobby the Health Secretary and Prime Minister to reverse a decision made by Matt Hancock MP which gave the controversial plans the green light.

The £312 million proposal from the Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust would lead to major changes in the way both Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) operate.

The proposals will see all 24-hour A&E cover moved to RSH, along with consultant-led women and children's services. Meanwhile PRH would have an 'A&E Local'.

Councillor Shaun Davies, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council said: “As part of Future Fit plans, we’ve been promised an A&E Local. Well, the reality is, people in Telford and Wrekin don’t need or want something that sounds like a health convenience store, they want a fully-functioning A&E.

“If Future Fit plans go ahead, Telford stands to become the largest town in the country without a full A&E service. Not only that, the purpose-built Women and Children’s unit will be moved to Shrewsbury.

“Our residents rely on local services. They deserve state-of-the art care that they can access when they need it, not so-called transformation plans that will widen the gap between people who have good health and those who don’t.”

Councillor Paul Watling, Cabinet Member for adult social care and health, said the decision had "left the community vulnerable and unhappy" and pointed to the latest petition urging the Government to reconsider gaining more than 20,000 signatures.

He added: “We will continue in our unwavering commitment to fight Future Fit plans and to giving the residents of Telford & Wrekin a voice as well as calling for fairer funding for GPs, dentistry and other essential health services.

“Every corner of our community deserves access to quality health care.”

The council had asked the Government to reconsider, highlighting reasons including census information which shows Telford and Wrekin has a faster-growing ageing population than Shropshire, and a growing number of women and children.

In October, Lord Markham, an under-secretary at The Department of Health and Social Care, asked the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to consider the council's worries about the plans.

The panel were expected to provide their view to the Health Secretary, Victoria Atkins MP, on Monday.