Plans to transform services at the Royal Shrewsbury and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford are progressing with the Outline Business Case expected to be completed in around 12 months.
This follows formal confirmation of the approval, subject to a number of conditions, of a Strategic Outline Case of the Hospitals Transformation Programme at the end of August by the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England’s Joint Investment Committee.
The Strategic Outline Case sets out plans to progress the implementation of the reconfiguration of acute services agreed as part of the Future Fit public consultation, which will see the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford specialise in planned care and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital specialise in emergency care.
This new model of care was designed, led and supported by clinicians, and will see patients benefit from fewer cancellations and delays for planned procedures and a more streamlined and effective emergency care service, with fewer ambulance handover delays, delivered from a dedicated, modern Emergency Department.
Louise Barnett, Chief Executive of The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust which runs both acute hospitals, said:
“The Hospitals Transformation Programme aims to improve both the quality of patient care and the sustainability of the services that we provide to our communities.
“We simply cannot continue with the current service configuration because it will not be able to meet the future needs of our population and gives rise to significant workforce issues.
“Approval of the Strategic Outline Case has enabled us to take a major and exciting step forward and we are already working on the next stage, involving the development of an Outline Business Case which will set out the future plans in more detail.”
Simon Whitehouse, Chief Executive Officer for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said:
“The Hospitals Transformation Programme is a key part of our overarching plans to transform health and care services across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales. We remain committed to achieving the ambitions of the Future Fit consultation so that we can improve quality, safety, experience and outcomes for local people.
“The £10million of funding announced recently to create an elective surgical hub at the Princess Royal Hospital is also fantastic news. This development fully aligns with the Hospitals Transformation Programme.”
The Outline Business Case will review each of the options set out in the Strategic Outline Case in more detail. There will be opportunities for the local population, staff and stakeholders to get involved in shaping the detailed models of care.
Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, Shaun Davies (Labour) said:
“I will be reading between the lines of the Strategic Outline Case to look for what it doesn’t say, as much as what it does, and I suggest others do the same.
“The reality for people in Telford and Wrekin is that these plans will see the Princess Royal lose its 24 hour A&E and emergency care for mothers and children in a specialist unit that was built just 8 years ago.
“Our current A&E will be turned from a supermarket to a corner shop, an “A&E Local”, a first for the country and a model that medical experts have openly criticised.
“As the largest town in England with a population which is ageing and one of the fastest growing in the country, this does not make sense. In fact, Telford and Wrekin’s population is growing twice as fast as Shropshire’s.
“Let’s also not forget that two in three of the 18,742 people who officially responded to public consultation on Future Fit plans disagreed with moving emergency care to Shrewsbury.
“The original plans submitted for approval amounted to some £500 million and with the Government agreeing to fund £312 million, what other services will be scaled back to close the gap?
“Telford & Wrekin Council will unapologetically continue to fight against plans that are not right for people in our borough.
“We will refer the plans to the new Prime Minister and Health Secretary and invite our MPs to work with us to secure the investment we need to get the best possible health and social care for people across Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire.”
Philip Dunne, MP for South Shropshire, has welcomed formal confirmation of the approval of the strategic outline case for the Hospitals Transformation Plan in Shropshire.
Philip Dunne commented, “It is no secret that Health Services in Shropshire have required improvement for some time. Significant progress has been made in several areas, but major investment and reform are required.
“The pandemic has exacerbated the problems in our local services with unacceptable ambulance waiting times, patient backlogs and slow hospital discharge through pressures on social care.
“The Hospital Transformation Plan is precisely what is needed, according to clinicians in Shropshire, to improve patient outcomes and secure the long term sustainability of health care services in the county. The Plan will help to address the critical challenges of patient flow, cancellations and staff recruitment. Yesterday’s confirmation by NHS England and the Department for Health of the strategic outline case is excellent news that brings the county a big step closer to being able to invest the £312 million capital programme already approved by the Conservative Government.
“The Trust are now preparing the next phase of more detailed plans to deliver this massive significant investment in Shropshire Health Services. I am assured that the latest plan will also improve community and primary care integration across the county. We all need to get behind this project to help modernise NHS services in Shropshire.”