Future Fit decides ... and the fight goes on
The Joint Committee meeting of the area’s two CCGs (the health bosses who choose and pay for health services for Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin) agreed to move ahead with Future Fit’s preferred option for the shape of future hospital services.
Under the plans backed by the CCGs, the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital would become the main 24/7 A&E hospital for the area and would also be the base for the Women & Children’s Centre which is currently at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, opened at a cost of £28 million just four years ago.
With your and the community’s support, we have together fought long and hard against this.
While my colleagues and I are deeply disappointed but not surprised at the decision, this is very far from the end.
The Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council will be calling for an Emergency General Meeting next month for the Council to formally refer the decision to the Health Secretary. If this request is approved, the Council will ask Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP to intervene and review the decision. The grounds for referral are that this decision would be against the interests of health services in the borough and highlight the poor consultation. This referral is a statutory referral rather than a plea to intervene.
Future Fit’s preferred option was also overwhelmingly rejected by the public during consultation last year, both from residents in Telford and Wrekin Council area and Shropshire Council area.
If backed by the Council, we trust that the Health Secretary, who we have repeatedly urged to intervene on a decision that makes no sense, will urgently review the decision. We are doing this now precisely because we want to do all we can to exhaust all avenues and avoid judicial review.
We will continue to ask how can it make sense to:
• Choose an option that will see the NHS having to borrow £62 million more, when keeping A&E and the Women’s and Children Centre at the Princess Royal Hospital can deliver identical services for everybody in Telford and Wrekin, Shropshire and mid Wales but for far less cost?
• To ignore the views of the majority of people in Future Fit’s own consultation - almost two thirds of whom don’t support the chosen option?
• To move the Women & Children’s Centre away from Telford when it was opened there because of clinical need at a cost of £28 million just four years ago?
We feel that the Government who would be writing the cheque for the loan to pay for the downgrade of the Princess Royal’s A&E department and the closure of its consultant-led Women and Children’s Centre, can no longer shirk its responsibilities by saying it’s a local decision. This statutory referral would make the government finally take ownership of this.
The Government must review the final decision and ensure that common sense wins.
This fight is very far from over. Our desire to secure a better NHS4All goes on. We will update you further as soon as we can.