Hospital shake-up plans referred to Health Secretary
Written by BBC News on March 21, 2019
The decision to downgrade the Accident & Emergency department at the Princess Royal Hospital and move its consultant-led Women and Children’s Centre to Shrewsbury has been formally referred to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care by Telford & Wrekin Council.
The decision to change the way hospital services are provided in Shropshire, known as ‘Future Fit’, was made by the Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups at the end of January. It followed a 14 week consultation last summer on proposals to separate planned and emergency healthcare between Shropshire’s two main hospitals in Telford and Shrewsbury. ‘Future Fit’ had its preferred option to site planned, arranged operations in Telford and emergencies at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. The CCGs voted in favour of this ‘preferred’ option, despite the views from members of the public who took part in a consultation.
In a 61 page document submitted to Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Telford & Wrekin Council said its reasons for referring this decision were that the Future Fit decision is not in the best interests of health services in the area. The Council also says that the consultation with the Joint Scrutiny Committee was inadequate.
Council Leader Shaun Davies said: “This is a lengthy and detailed legal referral. It outlines many of the arguments we have long made and goes further into how Future Fit’s decision would not meet the growing and changing needs of our population – not now and not in the future. There is insufficient evidence of any investment in primary and community healthcare services which are needed to help keep people out of hospital in the first place. We have no confidence that the NHS can afford to carry it out with what is a loan, not a grant, from the government. We have no confidence that there would be any savings from these hospital changes to re-invest back into primary care and community services that are so badly needed in the borough and in Shropshire and Mid Wales”.
Councillor Davies also went on to say ““We had previously asked the Health Secretary to intervene because we believe this decision makes no sense. This formal referral by the Council now forces him to review proposals that I believe to be incomplete following analysis that was flawed, leaving too many questions unanswered. We believe the plans, if implemented, would be very damaging for our local community. The future of this decision is now in the hands of the Secretary of State and I trust that he will use his powers to protect health care in the borough.”
The future of this decision is now in the hands of the Secretary of State and I trust that he will use his powers to protect health care in the borough.”
– Councillor Shaun Davies, Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council