Hospital shake-up business case to be submitted for approval in 'coming weeks'

The initial Future Fit business case is due to be submitted to national NHS chiefs for approval in the coming weeks, health bosses say.

The emergency department at Princess Royal Hospital, Telford
The emergency department at Princess Royal Hospital, Telford

The confirmation has come from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which says the public will be given access to the details once they are formally approved.

The trust says the plans to shake-up hospital services in the county will now run through “internal and system governance processes” this month before being submitted to NHS England and NHS Improvement.

It comes after delays in finalising the draft strategic outline case due to delayed approval for a request to engage an external consultancy to work with the trust.

The coronavirus outbreak also piled pressure on taking the hospital reshuffle forward, after a number of those working on the scheme had to be redeployed elsewhere.

But hospital bosses say they are now pressing ahead.

Chris Preston, deputy chief executive at SaTH, which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford's Princess Royal Hospital, said: “The changes to local health and care services envisaged as part of the hospitals transformation programme are an essential part of improving the health and wellbeing, and meeting the future needs, of the communities across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Powys.

“Timelines remain indicative, but we are still planning to finalise and submit the draft strategic outline case to NHS England/Improvement in the coming weeks for approval.”

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Under the scheme, which has been renamed the 'hospitals transformation programme', RSH will house the county's main A&E, with PRH due to get an 'A&E local'.

PRH will also take over responsibility for planned care but is due to lose its consultant-led women and children's services.

The cost of the project has grown to £533 million from its original £312m budget, largely due to inflation.

It has secured funding for the initial amount but there have been warnings that there could be further delays if the 'affordability gap' cannot be resolved.

Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski met Chancellor Rishi Sunak in June and called on him to release the necessary funding for the project as part of the Government's autumn comprehensive spending review.

Last month, Mr Kawczynski said he will urge the county's other politicians to join him in lobbying the Government to fully fund the scheme once initial plans are finalised.

If additional funding is not secured, the scope of the proposal may have to be changed which could require further consultation.

Health bosses say the scheme will deliver safer care, better outcomes for patients and reduce cancellations of planned care at the county's acute hospitals.

However, it has been met with protest over the years.

The plans were reviewed under the instruction of former Health Secretary Matt Hancock in 2019, following a request from Telford & Wrekin Council, after being confirmed by the local clinical commissioning groups in January of that year.

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