Council responds to Future Fit decision to press on with hospitals review consultation
The future of the area’s hospital services has been “pre-determined” with “lip-service” being paid to the public, according to the Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council.
Cllr Shaun Davies’ comments came after the latest recommendation by the NHS’s Future Fit board to the Clinical Commissioning Groups (who decide on the provision of health services in the county) to push ahead and consult on plans to site the Women and Children’s Centre and 24/7 full A&E in Shrewsbury.
This is despite concerns raised in an independent review into the Future Fit’ decision making process.
This recommendation comes at the same time as an independent local health expert has also revealed that it would cost a further £55million pounds to build a new Women and Children’s Centre at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital; nearly twice the £28 million the cost to opening the current purpose-built centre at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford. This opened less than three years ago and was sited at PRH because of clinical need.
Cllr Davies said: “We have long campaigned for a transparent, fair and legal process. The independent review into ‘Future Fit’ was carried out as a result of our many concerns that a decision based on flawed information and process would be railroaded through.
“We expect this review will be made public on Thursday and when people read it they will see that the main flaws in the process identified by us have also been recognised by the report. Yet, despite their own report highlighting these flaws in the option appraisal process and fundamental concerns about the need for assurances over whether it can be afforded and delivered, Future Fit still feels it can plough on regardless with a public consultation which will offer little more than lip-service to the public. Whatever the outcome, this is clearly a decision that has been predetermined by the hospitals Trust who have already, wrongly in my view, published their preferred option.
“A breakdown of the figures provided a real shock; moving the Women and Children’s Centre to Shrewsbury would cost £55 million. The public will be staggered that the NHS can consider such waste when only three years ago it opened a Womens & Children’s centre in Telford less than three years ago at a cost of £28million.
“We’ve constantly said this idea made no sense but moving a service so soon after opening at almost twice the price simply beggars belief.
“The public, who fund the NHS, must wonder what is going on. No wonder the Secretary of State Health referred to “local incompetence” when I met him last winter!
“We will continue our PRH4Me.co.uk campaign to ensure the public we serve and the wider public of Shropshire get the health service they are entitled to.
“We understand the strong desire to make decisions quickly. But it is also in everyone’s interests to ensure that the right decisions are taken based on an objective assessment of the evidence. Future Fit, despite an independent review, still sadly does not do this. We have no choice but to consider all options available to us to ensure that any final decision is reached properly and is not simply a pre-determined one.”
The recommendation to the Clinical Commissioning Groups to consult on the preferred option of siting the 24/7 A&E department and the Women and Children’s Centre in Shrewsbury was made by the Board of ‘Future Fit’ on Monday 31 July.
The recommendation must next go before a joint meeting of Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (who decide on the provision of health services in the county) on Thursday 10 August.