The NHS Future Fit Programme has reached an important milestone after a panel met last Friday to discuss potential options for the future of hospital services.
The “Non Financial Appraisal” Panel consisted of representatives of all the partner organisations involved in NHS Future Fit – all NHS organisations including Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust, other providers, ambulance services, local government, patient representatives and others from across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales. Fifty people in total.
The panel focused on the non-financial advantages and disadvantages for having the new Emergency Centre, treating the most serious conditions, located at either Shrewsbury or Telford. By having these services located on one site, clinicians can ensure patients get the specialist treatment they need. Of the people who currently use A&E, 80% would continue to be seen by the urgent care centres, which will continue to be based at both hospitals.
As part of this appraisal, the panel considered:
- Access for patients
- Quality of care
- Staff (ability to retain and attract clinicians and staff)
A separate financial appraisal considering cost is being carried out for both sites.
This panel is only the first step in the journey to reach a long-term decision on hospital services. Over the next few weeks the NHS Future Fit Programme Board and CCGs will be reviewing the non-financial and financial recommendations to reach a set of preferred options that can be publicly consulted.
The proposals being considered include:
- A brand new Emergency Centre at either Royal Shrewsbury Hospital or Princess Royal Hospital alongside critical care
- The majority of planned care on the other hospital site
- Two new urgent care centres, where 80% of patients who are currently seen in A&E would be treated
- Outpatients and diagnostics at both hospitals.
Next steps include the Future Fit Programme Board (health leaders from local NHS organisations, clinicians and patients) will assess the non-financial and financial reviews to make a formal recommendation on the preferred option on October 5*. This will then be considered by the Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group later in October.
*(The Financial Appraisal was considered alongside the Non-Financial Appraisal on Friday 30 September. To enable all Programme Board members sufficient time to read and consider the report it has been agreed that Programme Board will now meet on Wednesday 5 October)
The decision will also be referred to the West Midlands Clinical Senate. This is a regional group of NHS experts who will consider it and could recommend changes.
In December 2016 Public Consultation will launch for a period of at least 12 weeks, allowing for a break that would take place over the Christmas and New Year period.
Final decision making will not occur until Summer 2017.
Which hospital site will house an emergency centre – which are the blue light, life threatening conditions only – is something that has yet to be decided, which is why the forthcoming consultation is so important. An estimated 20% of what comes through A&E are critical cases which require A&E treatment. The remaining 80% would be able to be seen in an urgent care centre setting.
David Evans, Senior Responsible Officer for NHS Future Fit said: “I would like to stress that no decisions on a preferred location have been made by the CCGs. Non-Financial Appraisal Panel reviewed the advantages and disadvantages of building an emergency centre at either Telford or Shrewsbury and scored each option accordingly. This is only one piece of the wider picture that health partners will need to assess over the coming weeks before identifying a preferred location.
“We hope to be able to discuss any preferred location by mid-October. Before any final decision is taken we will want to seek approval from the independent Clinical Senate and listen to patients’ views through a public consultation later this year.”
“Last Friday’s panel was an important milestone in our journey to identify a preferred location for emergency and planned hospital services. There is more work for us to do before we can reach a recommendation, which will be taken to our Board meetings next month.”
In the meantime, pre-consultation engagement continued this week across the community with a tour of Telford’s libraries. More pop-up stands will be held across Shropshire’s libraries from next week and details can be found here.
Anyone can take a look at a short animation that explains the NHS Future Fit “case for change”. It has been viewed close to 10,000 times already and can be seen at: www.nhsfuturefit.org
People can also get involved by going to: www.nhsfuturefit.org/get-involved