Half a million people living in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales are set to benefit from a capital funding injection of £300 million to transform their local hospital services. The money makes up the largest proportion of a £760 million investment from the Department of Health & Social Care – the single biggest capital injection of its kind in the NHS for over a decade.
The scale of the funding means that subject to consultation, in the future local people will receive care and treatment at two vibrant hospitals in Shrewsbury and Telford. A wide range of hospital services will still be available at both existing hospital sites and importantly, stay within the county. In addition, the announcement is expected to have a more immediate impact, by attracting expert consultants, doctors and nurses to work for hospitals destined to undergo a transformation.
No decisions will be made until after a formal public consultation which will ask people’s views on two options. The model has been co-designed by members of the public and over 300 clinicians, GPs and social care professionals. It will see one hospital becoming an Emergency Care site and the other a Planned Care site. This will allow specialist doctors to treat the most serious cases on the Emergency Care site, which is proven to be safer, provide better results for patients and reduce the amount of time people have to stay in hospital.
By having a separate Planned Care site, patients will wait less time for their appointments and beds would be protected for planned operations, meaning that is highly unlikely operations will be cancelled due to emergency admissions. In addition, both sites will have an Urgent Care Centre that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that almost 80% of patients will continue to go to the same hospital as they do now for emergency and urgent care.
Dr Simon Freeman, Accountable Officer, Shropshire CCG said: “Thank you to everyone who has been involved in helping us to reach this point. This is fantastic news for our local communities and a major step forward in making sure we can secure two vibrant hospitals and improve the care received by people across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales now and in the future.”
Mr David Evans, Chief Officer, NHS Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “This is a massive endorsement of the tireless work of our clinicians, staff and local people in co-designing the best model of hospital care for our region. When we proceed to consultation, we want people across all the areas served to make sure they have their say.”
Simon Wright, Chief Executive, The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, added: “This news sends out a clear message to our doctors, nurses and other frontline staff that we will be able to transform our hospital services to improve outcomes for our patients, reduce waiting times and cancellations and to become an even more attractive place for people to come and work.”
Today’s announcement clears the way for NHS England to provide its final, formal approval for the CCGs to launch the Future Fit public consultation. Once the CCGs receive this approval, they will finalise plans and announce the start date of the consultation.
The formal public consultation will ask for people’s views on two options:
Option1: The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital becomes an Emergency Care site and the Princess Royal Hospital becomes a Planned Care site
(This the CCGs’ preferred option)
Option 2: The Princess Royal Hospital becomes an Emergency Care site and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital becomes a Planned Care site
Under either option, both hospitals would have an Urgent Care Centre that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.