If you use NHS services within the county then the thought on most people’s minds will be - where will the single emergency centre be located? Well, we won’t know the answer to that for a while, as there are lots of discussions that need to take place with patients, local people, doctors, nurses and others involved in NHS Future Fit. But with the amount of media coverage around the centre, I can understand why people may think there are unanswered questions, as there’s been lots of speculation on this topic.
For example, there have been reports that as the Women and Children’s Centre has opened at Princess Royal Hospital, then naturally that will be the location for the single emergency centre. And if this is the case, a decision has already been made before a consultation with the public has even taken place – rendering the whole process a pointless exercise, or even a sham. This simply isn’t true. There has to be a consolation process involving the public, as major decisions cannot be made without patients and local people having their say.
The other scenario being bandied about in Telford is that because of the rural nature of Shropshire and mid-Wales, it’s a done deal that the emergency centre will be located at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. The reality is, neither of these scenarios is correct.
Caron Morton and I, as senior responsible officers for NHS Future Fit, together with others involved in the programme, are part of a clear and transparent process which we want everyone across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid-wales to be involved in. As senior officers our purpose is to help create the best solution to deliver healthcare services for the next 20 years, and this can only be done with the help of local people and the input of patients. This is the message I’d like to leave people with, and it’s not a rose-tined view of what I’d like to happen, it’s what I believe should happen. But this does not take away the fact that there are still people out there who have real concerns about what we’re trying to achieve, which is perfectly understandable. We do, and will, listen to those people and encourage them to come to events, workshops and make contact with us. It’s vital that we take into account all of the differing views, so people understand what NHS Future Fit stands for and how it will benefit patients across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid-Wales.