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31.01.19

‘Fatally flawed’ revamp of Shropshire hospitals given green light

Shrewsbury will house the only A&E centre in Shropshire after plans to restructure a special measures trust’s services were approved by commissioners, but were branded “wholly wrong” and “fatally flawed” by MPs and council leaders.

Clinical commissioners have unanimously approved the ‘Future Fit’ reorganisation of hospital services, but council leaders and an MP have publicly slammed the plans and have written to the health secretary calling for an intervention.

Despite several staff members at the hospital speaking out in support of the plans, over 200 people turned up to the public meeting to protest the decision.

A joint committee of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin CCGs approved the highly controversial NHS Future Fit plan to secure £312m from the Treasury in a deal to develop both hospital sites.

Princess Royal Hospital in Telford will have its A&E department downgraded to an urgent care centre and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will become a specialist emergency care site, which the trust says is proven to be safer and produce better results for patients.

Edwin Borman, the chief executive of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs both hospitals, said it was “delighted” that the decision had been made, meaning it can “begin to shape the future for all of our services.”

But Telford & Wrekin Council has requested an emergency general meeting with Matt Hancock to “urgently” review the situation, backed by Telford MP Lucy Allan who has also written to the health secretary calling for a review.

Allan said: “The needs of Telford & Wrekin residents have been neglected in the proposals that have been agreed,” adding that “the failure to engage with the Telford perspective or the needs of our community has fatally undermined this project.”

SaTH was placed into special measures by NHS Improvement in November and then slumped to an ‘inadequate’ CQC rating in the same month after major concerns were raised over the trust’s emergency department.

The programme to overhaul services at the county’s two main hospitals began in 2013 as part of a bid to ensure services were sustainable, and last year the Treasury said the trust was to receive £312m to fund the reconfiguration.

David Evans, chief officer for Telford & Wrekin CCG, called the decision “the dawn of an exciting new era for our hospital services,” and said “people can be assured that this is not a downgrading of services.”

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