Future Fit recommends carrying on with Option 1

The Future Fit programme board met yesterday and, despite being overwhelmingly rejected by the public in its consultation, wants to plough on with its more expensive preferred option.

Future Fit recommends carrying on with Option 1

Its option, Option 1 costs a lot more than the option we preferred. It would involve borrowing £62million pounds more from the government. The cost of repaying that extra loan over decades would cost even more. Their preferred option would see the Women and Children's Centre and the county's only full 24/7 A&E in Shrewsbury.

This recommendation will go to the Clinical Commissioning Groups for Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin who pay for and decide on the health services provided in their respective areas. They meet at Harper Adams University at 6.30pm on 29 January. It's a meeting you can go to. It's also due to be webcast on www.nhsfuturefit.org .

This long awaited meeting of the CCGs will come just days after the NHS unveiled its Long Term plan which states the main focus should be on spending more on community-based services to improve healthcare to the public while reducing the pressure on hospitals.

Responding to yesterday's latest, Cllr Shaun Davies, the Leader of Telford and Wrekin Council called on health bosses to follow the NHS’ own new Long Term Plan over the future of hospital services and respect the will of the people.

He said: “Future Fit has only ever put forward two options. We argued for the option that delivered the same services for everybody in Telford and Wrekin, Shropshire and mid Wales but for far less cost. We argued that, by keeping the Women and Children’s Centre in Telford alongside emergency care and a full 24/7 A&E, less money would be needed to upgrade hospital buildings. The costs of paying back that extra £62 million can go on community health services to keep people out of hospital in the first place.

“The public agreed with us and showed their support for this option. Yet, Future Fit has ploughed on, arguing the case for its  more expensive option, costing millions pounds more on  unnecessary moves such as taking the Women and Children’s Centre out of Telford just four years after spending £28million building it.

“Then earlier this month, the Government and the NHS nationally launched the NHS Long Term Plan. This says more should be spent  on health services in the community to help prevent unnecessary hospital stays and premature deaths from conditions such as lung and heart disease.

“The NHS Long Term Plan calls for things to be done differently, for local councils such as ours to work together with NHS organisations, other partners and the public to develop strategies for the next five years.

“Instead Future Fit wants to ignore this and carry on  wasting money on hospital buildings when a cheaper option that gives the same services is there allowing so much more could to be done with the £312 million borrowing that Future Fit’s preferred option will need.

“To plough on with its own preference makes no sense. It goes against the will of the people, the very people the NHS Plan should work with. It goes against the NHS Plan itself.

“It simply makes no sense; something I repeatedly have said over the last 4 years  and have  called on the Government through the Health Secretary to intervene. 

“The Government would be writing the £312 million cheque, giving health bosses here the financial loan. 

“This money must be spent wisely to provide the best possible health service in line with the NHS’ future plans.

“I call again on the Secretary of State for Health to step in to make sure it is.”

You can hear Cllr Davies' reaction to BBC Radio Shropshire here