‘Future Fit’ decision puts health and wellbeing of our residents “at risk”
The Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council has described as “shocking” the recommendation of the Health Secretary to continue with plans to downgrade A&E at the Princess Royal Hospital and close its consultant-led Women and Children’s Centre.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, wrote to Councillor Shaun Davies following the Telford & Wrekin Council’s formal referral of ‘Future Fit’, the name given to plans to change the way Shropshire’s two main hospitals provide services.
Mr Hancock asked an Independent Reconfiguration Panel to look into the case which recommended that “emergency care is better located at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital”; advice that the Health Secretary says he accepts.
Future Fit’s plan would mean Telford’s consultant-led Women and Children’s Centre would move to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital which would also be home to the county’s only full 24/7 A&E. Telford’s A&E department would be replaced by an urgent care centre, although in his letter, Mr Hancock added that he has asked NHS England for advice on “how the ‘urgent care model’ can be delivered through an ‘A&E Local’.”
Councillor Davies said: “I am sick to the stomach. This is a shocking decision that puts the health and wellbeing of residents in Telford and Wrekin at risk.
“The Women and Children’s Centre was opened five years ago at a cost of £28million for compelling clinical reasons. All the statistics show that the population is younger in Telford and Wrekin and there are more complex births in this borough and this side of the county. To move a consultant-led Women and Children’s Centre away from Telford is risky.
“This decision isn’t just risky for people in Telford and Wrekin. People living in rural Shropshire and in mid Wales will also lose out because they will have to travel further for their planned care and operations.
“The Health Secretary has alluded to Telford having an ‘A&E Local’ although no-one, including people within the NHS, seem to know what one of those is. I fear it is just another name for a downgraded A&E. It will not be the full 24/7 A&E that Telford, the fastest growing town in the country, deserves.
“This Council will not simply roll over on this decision. We will continue to fight. We will look at all options available to us, including a judicial review which would be expensive with unpredictable results.
“I will work with our MPs who I urge to get around the table and meet the Health Secretary to make the strongest possible case to the Government, even at this eleventh hour, that this decision is simply not good enough.
“I also urge everyone; MPs, local councillors, residents, businesses and organisations to come together with a united voice and write to the Health Secretary.
“Make it clear directly to the man who made the decision, the Health Secretary, why you think the decision is wrong.”
Write to Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care:
or via the Department for Health website