Fiasco drowns NHS Future Fit project: “Future Fit has been a perfect storm of bad events”

Today, the Future Fit project to reorganise health services in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin stumbled to the edge of collapse. The two Clinical Commissioning Groups involved in the project have said David Evans has left his key role with immediate effect.

Tracey Huffer says:

“This is a real shocker. Future Fit has been in chaos almost from the outset. We have spent three years and many millions of pounds getting precisely nowhere.

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Shropshire’s single A&E planned to be at Shrewsbury, says Defend Our NHS

For once I find myself in agreement with Lucy MP, MP for Telford and Wrekin, when she told BBC Radio Shropshire this evening that the Future Fit programme has been an “extraordinary saga.” The latest twist in this tortuous process is a leaked report on the first stage decision on the closure of one of our county’s A&Es.

BBC Radio Shropshire and the Shropshire Star reported this morning that Shropshire and Telford Clinical Commissioning Groups favour a single A&E at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. The Women and Children’s Centre at the Princes Royal Hospital will move back to Shrewsbury. This department opened just two years ago at a cost of £28 million. Planned treatment and surgery will be carried out at Telford.

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Welcome news as health minister Philip Dunne says Ludlow Community Hospital “will remain a hospital"

Last night, our local MP Philip Dunne, who is the new Health Minister, gave a categorical assurance that Ludlow Hospital will not close. He told a crowded meeting of the hospital League of Friends that the hospital “is going to remain a hospital”.

Speaking after Philip, David Evans from the Clinical Commissioning Group confirmed that closure is not an option:

“Ludlow is not under threat of closure. Let me be absolutely clear about that.”

David thought there could be more services offered from Ludlow Hospital and for it to become a health and wellbeing centre, as well as a community hospital. But he also made it clear that, in his personal view, we might lose the midwifery-led unit.

The news that the hospital looks set to survive is very welcome. But although we have a political and policy commitment to keep Ludlow Hospital but I am not yet convinced the story stacks up. We had that level of political commitment with the ill-fated Eco Park hospital project.

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Future Fit: Scrapping of Rural Urgent Care Centres is a disaster in the making for Ludlow, says Tracey Huffer

“I am in utter despair. This is a disaster in the making.”

That is the reaction of Shropshire Councillor and nurse, Tracey Huffer, to the news that the Future Fit programme has abandoned any hope of creating Urgent Rural Care Centres in Shropshire.

Tracey continues:

“We have been told for two years that Future Fit would strengthen care for sick and vulnerable people in rural areas. Now we hear that for anything for more serious than a sprain or cut, patients may have to go on a sixty-mile round trip to Shrewsbury or Telford. That’s just wrong and people will suffer as a result.

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Health bosses plan further reduction in community hospital beds in Ludlow and across Shropshire

The Clinical Commissioning Group is planning to reduce the number of beds at community hospitals in Shropshire by around 40%. At Ludlow, this would mean a reduction from 24 to 14 beds. The CCG’s intention is to rely more on community services and adult social care to ensure the wellbeing of patients that would otherwise have been treated at Ludlow.

BBC Radio Shropshire is reporting today that the Shropshire Community Health Trust is saying it is not responsible for the plans. It is seeking urgent discussions with the CCG “to understand its reasoning.” This shows just how dysfunctional our local health system has become. The autocratic behaviour of the CCG has all but wrecked the Future Fit programme to modernise health services in the county. Now it is imposing changes on community hospitals without consultation with the trust that runs them.

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