Today (Tuesday, 7 February) health and social care leaders agreed the next steps for the NHS Future Fit programme. Partners are in agreement that work must continue to identify a long term solution for the challenges faced by local hospitals.
Partners have agreed to commission an independent review without delay. External experts will review the appraisal process carried out so far in developing the long term options for hospital services.
Health leaders are confident that by carrying out this independent review, it will give local people reassurance that any future changes are based on the best options for patients.
Additional work is underway to review any impact on women’s and children’s services, should the proposed emergency centre be approved.
Both pieces of work are anticipated to be completed by late spring 2017 and will be reviewed by the Programme Board.
Over 300 clinicians have been involved in the hospital review so far, telling health leaders that no change is not an option. With A&E departments in the county under pressure this winter, clinicians are stressing the need to move to one emergency centre supported by two urgent care centres and a separate centre for planned surgery. Both CCGs are in agreement that no change is not an option.
David Evans, Accountable Officer for Telford and Wrekin CCG, said: “Listening to feedback from our clinicians and knowing the pressures our A&E departments are facing this winter, both CCGs and the Hospital Trust are in agreement that we must continue with our work to build long term sustainable solutions for the hospital services.
“We hope the independent review will help give partners assurance that the process followed so far has been rigorous. Ensuring we have clinically safe services when patients need them now and in the future is a priority. Whilst these reviews are underway we will continue to work with the Trust to involve the public and clinicians in developing the long term solutions for the health system. Our aim is that by the summer we should be able to consider launching a public consultation.”
Simon Freeman, Accountable Officer for Shropshire CCG, said: “I’m confident that we’re moving in the right direction to find a long term solution for our hospital services, as we understand the concerns raised by our hospital clinicians.
“Like many areas across the country we know that changes to emergency and planned care services are not easy decisions to make and take time. This extra work and further engagement with the public will help us to gather all the evidence needed to ensure that any future decisions are right for our population as a whole. We are confident that the options suggested are best for the future of health services in the area.”