Financial delays mask PRH threat - now stronger than ever

The financial delay that has put the Future Fit programme on hold raises very significant and further doubts over the whole process and how it can review hospital services in Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire, says Telford & Wrekin Council.

Financial delays mask PRH threat - now stronger than ever

The Future Fit programme says it cannot progress any hospital reconfiguration option for consultation until this more effectively tackles Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust’s deficit, due to reach almost £23 million next year.

The Council says it is unbelievable that a process can spend two years developing options that fail to address such a fundamental and obvious issue.

Councillors say that the public will also find it “madness” that the Future Fit programme can even consider recommending moving the successful £28 million Women and Children’s Centre, just one year  after it opened, from the Princess Royal Hospital to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. In the climate of austerity and huge cuts to other parts of the public sector, this is even harder to understand.

Despite the financial delay, Future Fit appears to still  recommend a model that would also move A&E services from the PRH to RSH.

The Council’s political group leaders warn this “direction of travel” for Future Fit signals the greatest threat yet to the PRH.

The Council also questions the basis on which much of the evaluation of the two hospital sites has been completed and whether this has been skewed against Telford by the weighting given to patients from Wales, who should come under the Welsh NHS, not part of the English NHS’s Future Fit review.

Councillors say that the PRH provides the most cost effective and viable site for any reconfiguration of services. Indeed the Future Fit programme’s own reports showed this earlier this year.

The review’s recommendations, now on hold to allow a solution that addresses SaTH deficit to be found, also ignore many key facts about Telford and Wrekin.

The borough, which also provides acute health services for large parts of  eastern Shropshire, is growing fast and is already the area’s main population centre. It has very clear and incontestable health needs – in Telford and Wrekin these are worse than other parts of the region and significantly worse than the national average on many health indicators.

The Council is urging people to join its A&E4 via and sign the public petition already started to protect the PRH.

Deputy council leader and chair of health and well-being Richard Overton said: “I am sure the public will be flabbergasted that the NHS has taken almost two years and spent so much money to arrive at a blindingly obvious conclusion.

“Any proposed solution has to address SaTH’s deficit. Those that are on the table just make a small dent, cause huge upheaval and in eyes of those at the top in the NHS are simply non-starters.

“How we ever got to this position begs the question – is Future Fit fit for purpose? Common sense says not.”

“Despite what we think are some very questionable decision-making processes, the Future Fit juggernaut continues rolling and if unchecked, the PRH’s future, as an acute hospital, will be as a downgraded hospital stripped of its A&E.

“We will be keeping a very close and vigilant eye on develo urge people to join our A&E4PRH campaign.”