Future Fit: Decision expected on Shropshire hospitals revamp

Artist's impression of the planned Emergency Centre in Shrewsbury Image copyright SATH
Image caption Under the plans, A&E in Shrewsbury would be replaced by an upgraded 'emergency centre'

A decision will be made next week on the latest plans for a multimillion-pound hospital reorganisation.

The programme, Future Fit, was first launched in 2013 to overhaul services at Shropshire's Royal Shrewsbury and Princess Royal hospitals.

Hospital bosses say the changes will improve the quality and safety of the county's services.

The latest business case said the preferred option is for Shrewsbury to house the main emergency care centre.

The document, published earlier, said women and children's services would also be in Shrewsbury, while Telford would house planned care, with its emergency department downgraded to an urgent care centre.

The report said this "would provide the best value for money over the long term" and "fewer people would have to travel further for emergency care".

Residents and Telford & Wrekin Council have been fighting plans to 'downgrade' its A&E unit and raised concerns about services moving from its £28m purpose-built Women and Children's Centre which opened in 2014.

Image copyright Press Association / Rui Vieira
Image caption The preferred option is for the main emergency care centre to be based at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

The council called for an independent inquiry into the decision making behind the preferred option, but the report said it had found no "material issues".

In a public consultation which took place last year, two thirds of respondents disagreed with having emergency care based in Shrewsbury - but just over half of the surveys were people living around Telford.

Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies said he thinks the majority view has been ignored.

Image caption The Women and Children's Centre opened in Telford in 2014 at a cost of £28m, although hospital bosses say the building could easily be used for another purpose

Dr Simon Freeman, accountable officer for Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We are confident we have undertaken a thorough process and it is now time to proceed to the final decision-making process."

Shropshire and Telford CCGs will make a decision on the recommendations in the report on Tuesday.

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