NHS Leaders vow to reach out and develop more collaborative work to improve services

NHS Leaders from across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales have vowed to work together to find a sustainable solution to the challenges faced in local health services. 

The promise came three days after a joint meeting of health commissioners did not reach agreement to progress the strategic outline case for changing hospital services at the Princess Royal and Royal Shrewsbury Hospitals (SaTH).

Yesterday’s meeting brought together a broad spectrum of leaders and clinicians from across the NHS, social care providers and patient representatives.

There was a collective agreement that doing nothing is not an option. With clinicians in agreement that moving to one emergency centre supported by two urgent care centres in Shrewsbury and Telford and Wrekin, would deliver better care for patients. However, it was recognised by all sides that further work was needed to review the impact on community and GP services.

All partners were in agreement that further engagement with clinicians and patients over the coming weeks was essential to finding a sustainable solution to the challenges faced in local health services.

Yesterday's meeting was a positive step forward, with all partners agreeing to develop an action plan to progress this important work. 

David Evans, Accountable Officer for Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “This is a long journey we are on and it is important that we take this time to get the right decision for patients and clinicians. What we need to do is take time to listen to everyone who has voiced concerns and engage them in arriving at solutions to the challenges we face around providing services that are clinically sustainable.

“Something that everyone has in common is a strong desire to see NHS services that work for the people of our many diverse communities, and we owe it to them not to give up. The challenges we have been trying to deal with are not going to go away.”

Simon Wright Chief Executive of Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospitals Trust (SaTH) said: “We were disappointed that we weren’t able to address the concerns of all our partners. We will continue to work with all partners to find a solution that allows us to move forward together.

“Hospitals clearly cannot work in isolation. We have to find a solution which does not lead to other members of the local NHS community being given more work they are not resourced to deal with or feeling disadvantaged."

Julian Povey, Chair of Shropshire CCG said: “As a GP in rural Shropshire for over 20 years I want what is best for our communities, and all local GPs feel the same. There is clear concern that the pressures faced by our GP practices haven’t so far been recognised and that is something we need to acknowledge and address. We also need to continue to reach out to our patients and reassure them that they are at the heart of our future planning.”

Dr Jo Leahy, Chair of Telford & Wrekin CCG said: “Nothing worthwhile is ever going to be easy. There is still real resolution that doing nothing is not an option. Carrying on with this process must continue but it has to be collaborative, involving our GPs as well as other clinicians across the health economy and it has to be robust enough to withstand setbacks. Our GP practices are the bedrock of our NHS and need to be supported appropriately.”