Councillors at Telford & Wrekin Council have agreed to formally ask the government to reconsider plans to downgrade emergency services at the Princess Royal Hospital using powers under the NHS Act 2006.
Council urge health secretary to use his legal right to reconsider Future Fit plans
The law gives power to Steve Barclay, the current Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to reconsider the decision made by Matt Hancock in October 2019 to go ahead with plans that will see Telford’s 24 hour A&E close and the consultant-led Women and Children’s Unit moved to Shrewsbury.
At a Full Council Meeting on 2 March 2023, a motion restating the council’s opposition to the plans and the need for them to be reviewed by the government was put forward by Councillor Andy Burford, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health and supported by elected members.
Councillor Shaun Davies (Labour), Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council said: “We are on the side of our residents and Future Fit plans are something people in Telford and Wrekin feel incredibly strongly about. Back in 2018 when people were consulted on the plans, two in three people disagreed with moving emergency care to Shrewsbury, yet this was ignored.
“More recently, we have petitioned government with over 22,000 people signing a letter to the Healthy Secretary to urge him to reconsider the controversial plans – and yet again, they have been ignored.
“The Rt Hon Steve Barclay has the legal power to reconsider the decision taken by Matt Hancock back in 2019 and do the right thing for people in this borough. Telford will become the largest town in England without a fully functioning A&E service. This makes no sense.”
Cabinet member for adult social care and health, integration and transformation, Councillor Andy Burford (Labour) said: ““Despite the constant reassurances that hospital transformation plans will benefit everyone in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, it is impossible to justify them when there are so many unanswered questions.
“There are some important points of detail outstanding – like whether there will be an increase or decrease in medical beds under the new model – and some fundamental questions on the viability of the programme.
“Can plans really deliver the improvement our residents deserve when earlier plans were re-worked from a cost of around £500 million to meet the £312 million budget? Add the impact of the highest rates of inflation in a generation to this and what improvement can people really expect?”
Councillor Angela McClements, Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, who seconded the motion said: “The £28 million Women and Children’s Centre was purpose-built at the Princess Royal in 2014 because of clinical need. New mothers and babies from across the borough still receive specialist care there. If this care is lost to Shrewsbury, are family members expected to travel back and forth to be with them at what will be one of the most challenging times of their lives? It’s not right
“We will keep doing everything we can to challenge the decisions being made.”
The council will now formally write to the Secretary of State to urge him to review the plans.