The controversy has only just begun. Yesterday morning, the Future Fit board firmed up its recommendations on how to split services between the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princes Royal Hospital in Telford.
Both hospitals will have urgent care centres (UCCs) open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is predicted that the UCCs will take 80% of the cases that currently go to A&E.
There will be one A&E. That will be at the RSH. People in Telford are understandingly not happy with that. Neither are they happy that the Women and Children’s Centre, opened at the PRH in September at the cost of £28 million, will move to Shrewsbury.
This is not a decision. The recommendations must be approved by the Clinical Commissioning Groups – they fund health services in the county. After which, there will be a public consultation on the final proposals. A final decision is expected to be made next summer.
Royal Shrewsbury Hospital
Emergency and critical care
Urgent care (24/7)
Outpatients and diagnostics
Women and children’s’ centre.
Princess Royal Hospital (Telford)
Urgent Care (24/7)
Most day case surgery
Planned orthopaedic surgery
Midwifery led unit.
For Ludlow, we don’t whether to feel relieved or concerned.
If there has to be just one A&E site, then Shrewsbury is the best location as far as southwest Shropshire and Powys are concerned. A better option would be to keep both A&E departments but that looks near nigh impossible in the current financial climate.
Not so good for us in the south of the county is that patients booked in for day surgery will have to travel to Telford. It will be difficult for many to get to the PRH for early in the morning. We will need a fleet of community transport vehicles to ensure this works. That will need to be budgeted for. I can’t see that has even been thought about.
We need to get these decisions about major hospital services resolved quickly. And we must urgently turn our attention to how rural health services are going to be delivered in the market towns and villages. We have a workshop on that on 9 December.