We have been waiting for this, even dreading this, for a long time. Way back in 2013, health managers announced that the county’s health services were to be reshaped. Not long after, they said that one of the A&Es would close under the Future Fit programme. Controversy has been raging since.

Today, the Clinical Commissioning Groups launched a major consultation on reorganising services at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princes Royal Hospital. They are asking whether the A&E should be in Telford or Shrewsbury. If the A&E is in Shrewsbury, which is what the CCGs want, planned care will be in Telford. And vice versa if the A&E is in Telford. Health managers are not giving the choice of retaining two A&Es but there is an open comment box in the response form where this point can be made.

What’s happening?

Health bosses want to invest £312 million authorised by the Department of Health to reorganise our two main hospitals. They have launched a public consultation under the Future Fit programme. The consultation closes at the beginning of September.

What is being proposed?

The recommended plan is to close the A&E unit at the Princes Royal Hospital in Telford and expand the A&E at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. (Click on the images to enlarge.)

What works best for the Ludlow area?

Option 1, with the A&E located at the Royal Shrewsbury. This is the best option for Ludlow and the surrounding villages. It will take 13 minutes longer for a blue light ambulance to travel from Ludlow to an A&E site in Telford. That’s 13 lifesaving minutes.

Isn’t two A&Es better?

Absolutely. In a perfect world and with a better funded NHS, we should have an A&E in both towns. But that option is not being offered by health chiefs.  Shropshire residents are being given a hard choice between an A&E in Shrewsbury and planned care in Telford (Option 1). If not, the A&E in will be Telford and planned care in Shrewsbury (Option 2).

After five troubled years developing the Future Fit programme, the NHS is unlikely to scrap it at the last moment. There is likely to be more announced for the NHS early in July. But this is likely to be absorbed by the growing costs of ageing, obesity, diabetes, cancer, genetic medicine and new technology. It’s unlikely there will be money left over for keeping two A&Es in Shropshire. Jeremy Hunt is unlikely to ride to our rescue.

We will be writing more on this in coming weeks. Our Future Fit Focus newsletter.

4 thought on “Future Fit consultation launches: It’s time to decide the future of Shropshire’s hospitals”
  1. Aren’t we missing the point here? Let’s take the example of someone having a stroke in Ludlow be. As I understand it from the NHS website there is a golden hour for treatment that can mean the difference between serious and permanent disability or substantial recovery. I have seen from Andy Boddington’s website that the average response time for ambulances in Ludlow is 18 minutes. The travel time from Ludlow to Shrewsbury is 51 minutes and to Telford is 50 minutes (Google). This tells us that in this situation neither solution provides acceptable medical care for Ludlow residents. This would apply to many other emergencies, e.g. heart attacks, etc. Centralisation of medical services in rural areas such as ours where travel times on country roads are longer than in other areas, condemns rural citizens to second class medical treatment or, at worst, to death or disability.

    1. I can’t agree with your travel times. SY8 1AA to RSH is 48 minutes and PRH is 61 minutes, based on the routes that ambulances take (i.e main roads). But the general point is correct. Being rural is a risk to your health.

  2. So, health bosses want to invest £312 million and the result will be reduced health services? I don’t think they understand what the word ‘invest’ means.

  3. KP … ABSOLUTELY … but then I don’t think any of OUR elected REPRESENTATIVES in the Health Service understand such a complicated term … (considering how many of their claims of “investment” turn out to be so much less than previous amounts) any more than I believe that they will take any notice whatsoever of what us plebs have to say in a “consultation” part from them being able to claim that they have “consulted”.

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