Future Fit: Telford council urges Shropshire Council and MPs to join fight for rethink
Telford & Wrekin Council is calling on Shropshire Council and local MPs to join with it to make a case for the Health Secretary to look at alternatives to Future Fit - including the option of a completely new hospital site between Telford and Shrewsbury.
Councillors passed a motion last night, saying the astronomical increase in cost makes the current proposals for the reconfiguration of the county's hospitals uneconomical.
It wants alternatives looked at in a rapid feasibility study, to include a new site dedicated either to A&E alone or to all hospital services for Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire.
It would also look at the option of retaining full A&E provision at both sites, including the retention of the Women and Children’s Centre at PRH.
The motion came from the ruling Labour group on the council, with several opposition councillors abstaining.
Watch the full council meeting here:
The leader of the Conservatives, Councillor Andrew Eade, had put forward the group's own motion - defeated last night - supporting the provision of a new hospital in between Telford and Shrewsbury and undertaking a fact-finding delegation to a 'model' hospital in Northumbria.
Proposing the successful motion, Councillor Andy Burford said there had been a huge change in circumstances since Future Fit began, including costs leaping to around half a billion pounds.
“The number of people going to A&E at the Princess Royal has increased by 20 per cent in four months and there has been an increase in emergency admissions,” he said.
“There has been an increase in waits of more than four hours at A&E and our figures are the worst in the country. Staff are working under intolerable pressure.”
He said that most of the money set aside for hospital reconfiguration would be going on the crumbling infrastructure of the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.”
"In order to progress these alternatives, and in the absence of fresh thinking from local NHS leaders, we call upon Shropshire Council and all local MPs to meet with this council administration to make an agreed case to the Secretary of State to instruct that the feasibility work outlined above is undertaken in partnership with the local authorities.”
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Council leader Shaun Davies said: “I will never apologise for standing up for health and hospital services for our residents.
“The Future Fit process is expected to cost £500 million and what it has done is pit one community against the other. We need to come together with Shropshire Council and our MPs. We stand ready to work together to get the best healthcare and outcomes possible. My door is always open.”
He said the council compromise was that there could be a 'super hospital' built on a site between Shrewsbury and Telford.
Speaking for the Conservative motion, Councillor Andrew Eade said: “Future Fit is in tatters after six years and several million pounds.
“We need to work together for a common goal, a sound outcome for the area, and lobby hard in this window of opportunity.”
He called for the council to visit Cramlington Hospital in Northumbria which he said had been held up as a model that Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin could follow.
“A new cutting edge hospital between Shrewsbury and Telford could be easier to get to than the Princess Royal is now.”
The successful motion said a more balanced approach to health must include a significant additional investment in accessible, local primary and secondary services across Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire which would reduce pressure on acute hospital services.
The current plans involve having the county's main emergency centre in Shrewsbury, with an 'A&E Local' at PRH, which would also take over responsibility for planned care.