Time for Shropshire to unite for better health care that brings communities together, not divides them

Statement from Councillor Shaun Davies, Leader of Telford and Wrekin Council and Councillor Andy Burford, Cabinet Member for Health & Social Care:

Time for Shropshire to unite for better health care that brings communities together, not divides them

Future Fit has been a six year process designed by the NHS. Each step of the way Telford & Wrekin Council has not only attempted to seek the best deal for Telford and Wrekin but for Shropshire as whole. Future Fit has been dominated by talk of hospital buildings while health services have been reduced.

Our referral to the Health Secretary, agreed by all parties on the Council and in line with the deadlines set by government for making comments, did not delay the process. The alterations the Secretary of State chose to make to Future Fit following this referral shows the referral was justified.  To accuse this council of delay is factually incorrect and a disappointing development in approach. We have a limited choice but to put the record straight.

Over the last few years, the Council has worked very closely with the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to help it overcome its problems working with the community to refurbish doctors accommodation to help attract junior doctors, opening doors to support the Trust to recruit hundreds of nurses from India and by pushing for a much needed new CT scanner.

The news that the costs to deliver Future Fit have spiralled out of control is a huge concern.

In light of this development, people in Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire deserve to know what sort of health service they are going to get.

This is not just about hospitals, it is about keeping people out of hospital in the first place with better preventative care and greater access to GPs and other community health services. It is about ensuring there is money to pay for the social care to reduce demand for hospital services as this provides a much better service for our residents as well as reducing the spending overall for health and care.

We would very much welcome the opportunity to work with our MPs and council colleagues across the county to make sure that the people we serve get the health service they deserve, both in and out of hospital.

We will never apologise for standing up for best interests of people living in, working in and visiting our borough.

Tonight, the Council will be asked to support an approach that unites the county and puts an end to one community being pitted against another.