The Council has today learned that its referral to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care of the local NHS’ decision over the future of the area’s hospital services will progress on to its next phase of examination in July.
The plans to reconfigure the area’s hospital services, known as ‘Future Fit’, proposes to downgrade the A&E department at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and move its consultant-led Women and Children’s Centre to Shrewsbury.
Council leader Shaun Davies has now been contacted by the Independent Review Panel (IRP) acting for the Secretary of State Matt Hancock MP, who will decide the Council’s referral of the Future Fit decision earlier this year.
The Panel has now asked to interview Cllr Davies in July as it gathers further evidence around the decision before giving its final advice to the Health Secretary.
Cllr Davies said: “This is another very important step forward in the referral process and further evidence of the strong case that we have made. We welcome the fact that this will now be considered in even greater detail.
“We also welcome that the IRP will take the time to come and talk to me and I trust that they will also speak with others involved in what we believe has been a deeply flawed Future Fit process.
“Clearly they think that there is more around Future Fit that needs looking into in greater detail.”
The Council in March made the referral to the Secretary of State because it believes that Future Fit 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”.
Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs who decide on and pay for health services in their areas) backed the Future Fit plans at the end of January.