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29.11.16

Shropshire councils refuse to endorse ‘insufficiently developed’ STP

Two Shropshire councils have refused to endorse the region’s 73-page draft STP, saying that it is insufficiently developed.

Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council have agreed that there is too much emphasis on the future of Shropshire’s hospitals and not enough on how GP services will be sustained during a tight financial period in the draft STP.

This has led to the councils saying that they have a lack of confidence in the financial projections and the rationale for future cost reductions, arguing that significantly more resources should be put into prevention and reconfiguring community and primary care services.

Malcolm Pate, leader of Shropshire Council, said: “NHS England have instigated a ‘launch’ of the STP, which suggests the plans have been fully worked through and agreed by all parties.

“Unfortunately this is not the case, as it is the opinion of both Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council that some elements of the document need developing.”

Shropshire’s draft STP sets out a number of changes designed to tackle the predicted deficit in the county’s health and social care services, expected to be £131.4m by 2021, by making its services more financially sustainable.

Measures outlined in the proposals include the re-configuration of A&E services at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, closing the A&E at one hospital to create a new hospital specialising in emergency care, allowing another to specialise in routine surgery.

Plans to close the A&E at one of the two current hospitals are estimated to save the county about £22m a year. However, they will cost £300m to complete and the plan does not identify where the new single unit should be based.

“The STP is not a final detailed plan of how we want to change things,” said Simon Wright, chief executive of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and lead of the county’s STP. “It represents the views and aspirations of the organisations involved. We will take all of these ideas to the patients who use our services and our own workforce. We’ll be talking more about this in the coming months.

“Any proposed changes will be subject to engagement... We will only take forward proposals which will support the long-term future of our NHS and will benefit our patients.”

The STP being overseen by Wright also proposes a number of measures to allow patients to be seen closer to home, including the idea of having 35,000 outpatient appointments a year carried out via video link along with 27,000 hospital appointments.

A review has also been launched to see if orthopaedic services should continue to be provided on three separate hospital sites or whether this number should be reduced.

(Image: c. Shropshire Council)

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