Hospitals solution must also address community care
Telford & Wrekin Council’s support for the borough’s Princess Royal Hospital remains as strong as ever but it warns that any future hospital reconfiguration must also address concerns about community and primary care services such as access GPs to support patients in the community and keep them out of hospital.
This follows a meeting of the two local Clinical Commissioning Groups who are overseeing the reconfiguration of the area’s two main hospitals - the PRH and the Royal Shrewsbury.
The meeting last night was asked to back a strategic outline case (SOC) by Shrewsbury & Telford NHS Trust for how services at the two hospitals might be arranged. This would then allow more details to be developed as to which services could be based at which hospital.
The SOC was backed by Telford & Wrekin’s Clinical Commissioning Group, provided reassurances are given around the development of “Community Fit” for community-based primary care services. However the SOC was rejected by Shropshire CCG. Both CCGs are overseeing the Future Fit programme.
Cllr Richard Overton said: “The SOC aims to support two vibrant hospitals in Telford and Shrewsbury to continue to serve the area but community services are equally important.
“A loud and clear message in 2013 at the start of Future Fit was that people want good access to primary care and care closer to where they live. It is imperative that Future Fit achieves this.
“This is a key issue for Telford and Wrekin and one that people raise many concerns about – difficulties in seeing a GP or accessing other basic primary health services close to their home.
“Any Future Fit solution must create capacity in both primary and community care to achieve this but it’s clear that the NHS has been told to live within its means and we need to ensure the NHS does not shift costs to local authorities at time of huge cuts in council services.
“Any solution must be financially sustainable for both hospitals and community care.
“It has already taken two-and-a-half years. The apparent impasse following the Shropshire CCG decision is disappointing and risks more delays and pressure on clinical services. The result could see decisions imposed on our hospitals because of clinical safety.”
The Council is urging people to pledge their support for hospital services in the borough through www.PRH4Me.co.uk