The decision by the UK Government Health Secretary, Matt Hancock MP, to approve plans to build a new Emergency (A&E) service in Shrewsbury has been welcomed by Montgomeryshire, Assembly Member, Russell George.
The news comes after years of debate and campaigning over Shropshire's hospital services.
Earlier this year, plans were given the go ahead to transform hospital services for the half a million residents of Mid Wales, Shropshire, and Telford.
However, Telford Council had challenged the decision-making process and recommendations. It formally referred the matter to the UK Government's Health Secretary who then asked an independent panel to look into the matter further before making a decision.
Commenting on the decision, Mr George said:
"I’m delighted that the UK Government Health Secretary has now accepted advice that the "Future Fit" Board should proceed with the new emergency centre based in Shrewsbury, alongside significant improvements in other types of care. This represents a huge investment of over £300 million pounds in world class critical and emergency care now being invested in Shrewsbury.
This will know mean that the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will become a new Emergency Care centre and The Princess Royal Hospital in Telford will become a Planned Care centre, with a 24-hour Urgent Care centre at both hospitals.
Mr George added:
"I welcome this decision which comes after many years of deliberation. The "Future Fit" Board considered the outcome and feedback from a public consultation, impact assessments on the different options and the findings of an independent review.
"This will be positive for us in Mid Wales, as not only will we see life-saving emergency healthcare located in Shrewsbury, with the large investment that comes with it, but we will also see the return of the women and children’s consultant-led inpatient service return to Shrewsbury.
"I think it’s also important to point out that both hospitals will continue to provide adult and children’s outpatients services and diagnostic tests as well as a 24-hour Urgent Care Centre, Day Case Renal Unit and Midwife-led unit.
"It is also essential that some planned care is delivered locally in our local community hospitals in Llanidloes, Newtown, Welshpool and Machynlleth, to prevent the need to travel out of county to see a consultant. I will be keen to understand how the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust will work in partnership with Powys Teaching Health Board to achieve this going forward."
"Nevertheless, this decision is a milestone which marks the point where the Shrewsbury & Telford Hospitals Trust has begun to confront its challenges and makes the necessary reforms which will allow it to attract top class consultants and clinicians. I am hugely encouraged by this decision, which I hope will allow building works to commence on the Shrewsbury site for a new Emergency Centre by the end of next year (2020)."
The following services will be provided at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital:
24-hour Emergency Department
Critical Care Unit
Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit
Emergency surgery and medicine
Complex planned surgery
Women and children’s consultant-led inpatient services
The following services will be provided at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford:
Planned inpatient surgery
Day case surgery
Breast inpatient services