Local commissioners and providers partner to improve health services across Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin
A coalition of leading healthcare organisations have today urged people to get involved and help shape the Future Fit programme which aims to improve hospital and community services across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and mid Wales.
Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and Powys Teaching Health Board and others are working together to ensure services across the region are fit for purpose.
David Evans, Chief Officer of Telford and Wrekin, said: “This is a wide ranging review, ensuring that patients and local people are integral to the process and vital to its success.
“The programme involves an in-depth analysis of future health needs and substantial effort to engage patients in the discussion about how services will look in the decades to come.”
“Under the programme so far, three groups of doctors, nurses and patient representatives have been tasked to generate a vision for the future of planned care, emergency services and long term conditions.”
“They are using evidence of best practice from the UK and overseas to develop the safest ways of working, patient-centred care and delivering the best outcomes possible for patients.
“We want to provide the people of our two areas with the highest standard of healthcare that is sustainable and safe. That means getting the balance right across the board, from self care to acute and emergency hospital care.”
These outline visions will now be tested against the needs and wishes expressed by patient focus groups held earlier this year.
Dr Caron Morton, Accountable Officer of Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are absolutely aware that in a large catchment area, with many rural communities, people want to be as close to their NHS services as possible.
“The work done by our doctors, nurses and patient representatives has suggested that the safest and most effective way to treat the most ill patients with complex conditions would be through investment in one high acuity emergency centre. We will have to consider this option as there are clear clinical advantages to this idea.
“Patients have already made it clear that when reviewing emergency care careful consideration must be given to the current sustainability of hospital sites at Telford and Shrewsbury and the possibility of considering a new site in the area.
“We will not put forward any proposals until we have listened and responded to the local public and patient voice, and working together with patients, the public and clinicians we will ensure that the service proposals are sustainable and above all safe.”
It is anticipated that Future Fit will present options to the public sometime in 2015.
Dr Edwin Borman, Medical Director of The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said: "Our hospitals serve a large catchment across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and mid Wales - enough people to support a full range of acute general hospital services in the county. But our doctors, nurses and other health professionals face a growing challenge from duplication of services and equipment across two relatively small hospital sites. Our staff do an amazing job to provide the best possible care for our patients. But, looking ahead they are concerned that, without radical changes, it will become harder and harder to provide 24 hour, seven day access to the highest standards of excellent medical treatment that offer our patients the best outcomes, safety and experience."
And Jan Ditheridge, Chief Executive of Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust said: “The development of the clinical model is an important step forward and in my view represents what patients and clinicians have been telling us to do for some time.
“Throughout the process I have been very impressed with the involvement of clinicians in the process, many have stepped up and spent a great deal of time and energy into this despite the ever increasing workloads they have.
All clinicians are determined to improve healthcare across all areas and there is a clear message that complex problems being faced in our hospitals can duly be answered by radical changes in the community.”
The Future Fit programme is being supported by Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire HealthWatch, who represent patient interests. They will ensure that patients are given a full and proper opportunity to have their opinions listened to and acted upon.
Carole Hall chair of Healthwatch Shropshire said: “We welcome today’s announcement. Local Healthwatch have a role in making sure that local people’s voices are heard and people are rightly highly sensitive about the future of their NHS services. If any major changes are being considered they have a right to know and also to be engaged in the decision making. We are committed to ensuring that this happens.”