'Fearful and upset' residents to face bosses in Shrewsbury Health Hub showdown

Hundreds of"fearful and upset" residents will face health bosses in showdown talks over controversial plans to move six GP surgeries into a "super hub".

Councillor Kate Halliday
Councillor Kate Halliday

The proposed Shrewsbury Health and Wellbeing Hub will be discussed at an extraordinary public meeting tomorrow evening at St Chad's Church in Shrewsbury.

The plans have sparked protests and criticism over a perceived lack of transport and concerns that patients will lose continuity over seeing their regular GPs.

Demand for tickets for the crunch talks was so high that the event had to be moved from it's initial venue at the Guildhall to the church to be able to accommodate Salopians who want to air their views.

As well as health chiefs from Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin ICS and members of the public, there will also be GPs present, and representatives from Shropshire Council.

The plans, which would affect 45,000 patients, would involve closing surgeries at their current location and moving them to a new hub. The surgeries affected are Claremont Bank, Marysville, South Hermitage, Marden, The Beeches and Belvidere. They range between 2.6 miles and 0.8 miles from the favoured site, in Oteley Road near Shrewsbury Town FC's stadium.

The meeting was called by Shrewsbury Town Council and Councillor Kate Halliday, who is leading a working group scrutinising the plans, said she is still receiving messages from worried constituents.

"I'm regularly getting emails from people worried that they won't be able to get to their GP if their surgery moves. I think fear and upset are the words that describe it best.

"I've had emails from older people who don't have cars who don't know how they'll get there."

She added: "We are really pleased with the response to the meeting and we are keen that residents have a chance to have their say on the health hub. We want to remind people that there are still places available and we would like to encourage people to attend.

"There will be a range of people presenting including representatives from the Shropshire Telford and Wrekin ICS, GPs, and representatives from Shropshire Council. You can submit written questions before the event, and we will also provide time for people to ask verbal questions on the night.

"A lot of people have booked places, so I would encourage people to send their questions in writing to enquiries@shrewsburytowncouncil.gov.uk before Monday, October 3 at 4pm to ensure that they are heard. The event will also be streamed live on the Shrewsbury Town Council Facebook page."

Councillor Halliday has also put forward a motion which will ask the council to write to the ICS saying a range of options should be included in the consultation - including upgrading existing surgeries, and to provide a new ‘normal sized’ surgery to meet the needs of the growing populations around Oteley Road.

The letter would also say that it is "unacceptable" to go ahead with proposals to a site that has "no adequate public transport for staff, patients and their families". The ICS will also need to ensure that there are good active travel access to the site, and negotiate this with Shropshire Council before any decisions are made.

It will also call for good communication with residents and councillors about the future consultation, including in writing to patients via the post, and that the project initiation document should be made public.

NHS England would fund the hub, which could open in summer 2025. Health bosses says the project represents a significant investment in GP provision in Shrewsbury.

A consultation into the proposal which was due to take place from October to December was shelved as bosses "review additional options".

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