Future Fit Fiasco
“It’s a total farce that is being railroaded through.”
That was the reaction from Telford & Wrekin Council Leader Shaun Davies to the NHS ‘Future Fit’ board’s recommendation to close the Princess Royal Hospital Women & Children’s Centre, just two years after it opened at a cost of £28m and move it to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
The Board of ‘Future Fit’ which is deciding the future of hospital services in the county met on Wednesday 30 November. It also recommended that there should be just one A&E department for the whole of Shropshire and that it should also be in Shrewsbury.
Cllr Davies said: “It beggars belief that anyone would think it a good idea that the Women & Children’s Centre should be closed so soon after it opened and at such cost. It illustrates the farce that is Future Fit.
“Telford was chosen as the location for the Women & Children’s Centre based on clinical evidence. What has changed since then? NHS figures show the population in Telford and Wrekin of 0-19 year-olds and of women aged 16-45 continues to grow, whereas in Shropshire these are declining. Nearly a third of woman of child-bearing age live in deprived areas, compared to just 6% in Shropshire. There is no evidence to support moving the centre to Shrewsbury.
“Nowhere in the work to date has the Future Fit team considered the impact of moving the Women & Children’s Centre from Telford. This is farcical and wrong.”
“We have always said there should be two fully-funded, fully-equipped Accident & Emergency units for a county the size of Shropshire. If there is to be only one, then it makes sense from a financial and clinical perspective to locate it at Princess Royal Hospital; in the area where there is a growing population and significant concentrations of under 5s and people who live in deprived communities.
“Having the A&E and the Women & Children’s Centre at the Princess Royal Hospital would also be tens of millions of pounds cheaper than moving them to Shrewsbury. This is money that could be spent on community health services and on schemes that help avoid admissions to hospital.
“Not only does the Future Fit recommendation go against a lot of the evidence around health needs but we have seen but it is being railroaded through using a flawed process. This process has been a fiasco from start to finish. We have raised our concerns about this process which we believe to be neither fair nor legal.
“‘Future Fit’ has consistently ignored and still today ignores our very real and valid concerns. I will be asking the Speaker of Telford & Wrekin Council to call an Emergency General Meeting to consider a judicial review of this process.
The next stage of this flawed process rests with the Clinical Commissioning Groups which we expect to meet next week to consider the Future Fit recommendation. Telford & Wrekin Council will review whether to seek a judicial review after this because of the flaws in the process.
“And I urge you to add your name to our www.prh4me.co.uk campaign. Thank you to the 16,000 people who have already done that. We must ensure that that the bosses of ‘Future Fit’ and the Clinical Commissioning Groups are in no doubt about the strength of feeling and support for our hospital.”