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'We could see people die': Call for an end to political rows over Future Fit

By Dominic Robertson | Mid Wales | Health | Published:

Political posturing in Shropshire over the Future Fit hospitals shake-up is putting people at risk in Mid Wales, it has been claimed.

Joy Jones, a Powys County Councillor and anti-poverty campaigner, who represents Newtown East, is concerned that a war of words between Shrewsbury’s Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski and Labour’s Telford & Wrekin council leader Shaun Davies is putting the scheme in jeopardy.

And ultimately she fears it could cost lives on the Mid Wales side of Offa’s Dyke.

In January, it was announced that NHS clinical commissioners had approved the Future Fit ‘preferred option’ for the £312 million hospital revamp.

This would see have emergency care based at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital while Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital will become a ‘planned care’ site.

This was supposed to bring an end to nearly six years of consultations on the proposals.

But Telford and Wrekin Council has asked the government to review the decision, which is now being looked at by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP).

The IRP could tell the UK Government health secretary, Matt Hancock, that the decision should be reviewed.

Councillor Davies has said that “he will do anything” to keep the services in Telford, while Mr Kawczynski has warned him that he is putting the whole process in jeopardy.

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Councillor Jones said: “It’s time we stop going round and round in circles and get on with it.

“They are always forgetting Powys and we are a massive part of this.

“If you live in Shropshire you have access to several hospitals before we can get to just Shrewsbury. And for maternity services, we already face a 100-mile round journey from here in Newtown, which has a big impact on families.

“If they remove the A&E from Shrewsbury, trauma status would also be lost.

“Patients needing critical help would have to go to Wolverhampton as that’s where the trauma unit is – and this is such a long way from us.

“Every second counts and we could see people die."

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