Future of local hospital services secured for people of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales

Plans have been given the go ahead today to transform local hospital services for the half a million residents of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales to make sure two vibrant hospitals and the wide range of services they provide for people locally are kept in the county.

This landmark decision will result in better care for patients, secure the £312m on offer from HM Treasury and develop both hospital sites to deliver state of the art facilities in which staff will be proud to work and patients will choose to be treated.

The decision by the Joint Committee of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) on 29 January follows many years of planning and a formal public consultation, which brought about an unprecedented response rate from more than 3% of local people served by the hospitals. It will now allow plans to move forward to implement the model of better care for the future that have been developed by members of the public and over 300 clinicians, GPs and social care professionals.

Members of the Joint Committee of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin CCGs have unanimously approved Option 1 (the CCGs’ preferred option). This means that the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford will become a dedicated Planned Care site and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shrewsbury will become a specialist Emergency Care site. This will allow specialist doctors to treat the most serious cases on the Emergency Care site, which is proven to be safer, provide better results for patients and reduce the amount of time people have to stay in hospital.

By having a separate Planned Care site, patients will wait less time for their appointments and beds would be protected for planned operations, meaning that is highly unlikely operations will be cancelled due to emergency admissions. In addition, patients will be able to access 24 hour urgent care services at both hospitals. This means that almost 80% of patients will continue to go to the same hospital as they do now for emergency and urgent care.

David Evans, Chief Officer at NHS Telford & Wrekin CCG commented “Today marks the dawn of an exciting new era for our hospital services. We understand that people have concerns and the numbers that attended the meeting today highlights just how passionate people are about the NHS. However, we are equally passionate about ensuring that our patients benefit from the best NHS treatment possible and the decision we have made today is vital for the future of patient care. Both the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital will continue to provide the services our patients use the most. These include outpatient appointments, midwife led services, tests and urgent care.

“People can be assured that this is not a downgrading of services. This is all about a huge improvement in the care that patients will receive and the majority of patients are still going to be seen in their local hospital in the urgent care centre. In order for the local NHS to deliver top quality emergency care, we need all specialities on one site.”

Dr Simon Freeman, Accountable Officer for NHS Shropshire CCG said: “We recognise that not everyone will agree with the decision made by the Joint Committee today, but people can be assured that we are acting in the best interests of our patients. Our doctors, nurses and other health professionals strongly believe that hospital services have to change for the better and this view is shared by our regulator, NHS England.

“The changes that have been agreed by the Joint Committee today will mean that patients receive the best care in the right place at the right time, in better facilities with reduced waiting times. It will also mean we can attract the very best doctors and nurses to work at our hospitals and we can maintain the right level of highly skilled clinicians across both our hospitals. The new model of patient care also takes into account the expected changes in our population over the coming years and how the best care can be provided for everyone. I also want to reassure our communities, patients and staff that no services will change overnight. Robust plans will now need to be developed that will include a phased building programme over the next five years.

“We are all extremely grateful to the thousands of people who took part in the consultation and look forward to continuing to involve patients and the public over the coming years.” Now that the decision has been made, it will take several years for the programme to be completed. A significant amount of work will need to be done to implement the huge improvements that patients will experience."

The following services will be provided at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital:
• 24-hour Emergency Department
• Critical Care Unit
• Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit
• Emergency surgery and medicine
• Complex planned surgery
• Women and children’s consultant-led inpatient services
The following services will be provided at the Princess Royal Hospital:
• Planned inpatient surgery
• Day case surgery
• Breast inpatient services
• Medical wards

Most people will still receive care and treatment in the same hospital as they do now, as the following services will be provided at both hospitals:
• 24-hour Urgent Care Centre (the majority of patients who attend our A&E departments will receive care and treatment here)
• Adult and children’s outpatient services
• Day Case Renal Unit
• Tests (diagnostics)
• Midwife-led unit
• Antenatal Day Assessment Unit
• Early Pregnancy Assessment Service (EPAS)
• Maternity outpatients and scanning

More information can be found at www.nhsfuturefit.org