Future Fit being “rushed again”
The Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council has accused health bosses of yet another attempt at downgrading Telford’s hospital services in “one last charge down a blind alley" rather than looking at the evidence in front of them.
Cllr Shaun Davies’ comments come after it was revealed that the ‘Future Fit’ programme (the name given to the decision making process on the future of hospital services) is making plans to start a public consultation in September for a final decision in January.
“How can they say when they are going to consult?” asked Cllr Davies, who adds: “The independent review into Future Fit’s process ordered as a result of many concerns the Council and others raised hasn’t even finished.
“Yet Future Fit seem to have already decided they can blunder ahead regardless, down the same error strewn route as before.
“And what are they going to consult on? Future Fit had earlier cited Shrewsbury as the preferred location for the Women and Children’s Centre which opened in Telford less than three years ago at a cost of £28m. Future Fit also recommends Shrewsbury as the location for the county’s only full 24/7 A&E department.
“If this is the direction they want to continue to take, it will go against one of the main points raised by the NHS’ own medical experts – the West Midlands Clinical Senate who said: “Telford and Wrekin have a younger population and more deprived population; this would favour the Emergency Centre at the PRH Telford site. However, this is mitigated by the elderly population in the Shrewsbury area where Emergency Care services will be required by the elderly patients. However, if robust community based services are in place this service could address some of this demand’.
“The report by the NHS regional experts was published over six months ago. I ask a simple question of the Future Fit team – what have you done to address this fundamental issue? What change of approach has the Future Fit team taken in light of these experts’ comments?
“This seems like one last charge down the same blind alley rather than looking at the evidence in front of them.
“The Clinical Senate referred to the importance of developing ‘robust community services’ and I ask again that Future Fit bosses open their eyes and ears and design services that properly meet the needs of Telford and Wrekin whose population is younger and Shropshire which has an older population.”