Future of Hospital Services: Concerns still not addressed
Telford & Wrekin Council has urged the boss of ‘Future Fit’ to accept that there are flaws in this programme and to properly answer the Council’s concerns over the appraisal process so far for the plans for hospital services in the area.
Council Leader Shaun Davies and Managing Director Richard Partington have written to Senior Responsible Officer David Evans urging him to confirm flaws in the process and that these are causing it to be delayed.
The Future Fit process was last month set to recommend moving the Women and Children’s Centre and A&E services from the PRH
Cllr Davies is urging that the current “pause” in the Future Fit process is extended into the new year to allow more time for the NHS to address the Council’s concerns.
Such an approach, he believes, can help avoid any need for a judicial review by Telford & Wrekin, which the Council would use only as an absolute last resort.
Cllr Davies said that had the Council not intervened, the “flawed process” to move services from the PRH would now be well underway.
The Future Fit plans, revealed in late September, would see the Women’s & Children’s Centre, which opened just two years ago at a cost of £28 million, and A&E services move to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
The letter to Mr Evans says that he has failed to answer adequately the previously outlined concerns and details further why the process has been unfair. It highlights in particular how the non-financial casehas been given a far greater weighting when it is supposed to carry equal weight as the financial case.
Concerns expressed by Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group about the process, which have also been shared with the Council, add further to the need for extending the delay in decision making, the letter says.
Cllr Davies asks Mr. Evans to confirm urgently if he will recommend a further delay to Future Fit, which currently is due to start public consultation on a preferred option by 5 January 2017.
Cllr Davies said: “It is important that, if the public are to be consulted, they are done so with information that is fair, transparent and has been arrived at objectively and impartially. I have serious concerns that, as things stand, this would not be the case and the public would be misled.
“We areasking Mr Evans to confirm publicly that Future Fit now recognises there are flaws in their process that need sorting out before this goes any further
“I have re-iterated to Mr. Evans that a Judicial Review is something we want to avoid if at all possible and that is why we continue to raise our concerns now to give the Future Fit programme the opportunity to listen and properly respond to these.
“Future Fit has already taken three years and millions of pounds to arrive at where we are now and if extra time is needed to ensure the proper, fair, legal and transparent process is followed, this must happen.
“If the existing flawed process had been allowed to run its course, the process to downgrade PRH would already be well underway.”