NHS Future Fit Consultation:
Have your say on how local hospital services are delivered!
About NHS Future Fit
The NHS "Future Fit" consultation ends on 11th September so please take your opportunity to have your say on how hospital services are delivered for the people of Mid Wales.
NHS Future Fit aims to agree the future shape of safe and sustainable hospital services in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin – working with communities and partners across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales who rely on these services.
These proposals affect Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shrewsbury and Princess Royal Hospital Telford, which are the main acute hospitals for many residents of Montgomeryshire.
The public consultation began on 30th May and ends on 11th September.
The proposals involve one hospital becoming an Emergency Care site and the other a Planned Care site. The Clinical Commissioning Groups believe this is the right approach because:
- Having a dedicated Emergency Care site would allow specialist doctors to treat the most serious cases in one place, which is proven to be safer, provide better results for patients and reduce the amount of time people have to stay in hospital.
- Having a separate Planned Care site would mean patients would wait less time for their appointments and beds would be protected for planned operations, meaning that it is highly unlikely operations will be cancelled due to emergency admissions.
In addition, both hospitals will have an Urgent Care Centre that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that almost 80% of patients would continue to go to the same hospital as they do now for emergency and urgent care. At both hospitals, patients would also be able to access outpatient appointments, tests and midwife-led services.
The formal public consultation asks for people’s views on two options:
- Option 1: The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital becomes an Emergency Care site and the Princess Royal Hospital becomes a Planned Care site (Clinical Commissioning Groups have said this is their 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.
More information is available from the NHS Future Fit website at www.nhsfuturefit.org
I have undertaken my own survey in relation to this consultation and I have received over 600 responses. My survey asked a number of questions:
“There will only be an emergency care service at one Shropshire hospital. Where would you prefer this to be located, Royal Shrewsbury Hospital or Princess Royal Hospital?”
95% of respondents preferred an emergency care service at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital rather than the Princess Royal Hospital Telford.
However, the preferred option would also mean that some planned care services would move further away from Mid Wales; moving to the Princess Royal (PRH) in Telford. There are concerns from my constituents that under both options the proposed model of care would result in residents having to travel further for some of their care (emergency care under Option 2, or planned care under Option 1).
My survey is still available for you to complete here.
On balance, while my preference would be that no care should move further away from Montgomeryshire’s residents, I am in favour of the preferred option which has been put forward by the Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin clinical commissioning groups. This option would see an Emergency Centre located in Shrewsbury which is centrally located to serve the life-saving emergency healthcare needs of the wider region and those of us here in Montgomeryshire.
It is crucial in my view that the Emergency Centre is located in Shrewsbury (as recommended) in order to retain life-saving emergency care without the need for additional travelling time for the people of Montgomeryshire. I also welcome the proposal to reinstate women and children’s services and stroke services, at RSH.
Under Option 2, the Emergency Centre is located in Telford. This is a particular concern for Montgomeryshire residents, as the increased distance of over an hour travelling for emergency treatment is completely unacceptable. There are very few places in the UK in which people have to travel an hour to receive emergency treatment. The ‘golden hour’ which is referred too many times is less likely to be achieved if the Emergency Centre was to be located at Telford.
There would be a significantly increased travelling time for family members to follow an ambulance to Telford from Montgomeryshire. They would then face this extended journey – typically a 100 mile round trip - to visit loved ones in hospital whilst they continued to receive emergency and acute care.
My survey results also show that many residents have raised concerns that PRH is too far from Junction 6 off the M54. Other concerns raised include the road layout, regular heavy traffic congestion and frequently stationary traffic on the A5.
While the planned surgery received at Gobowen is not affected and neither are most of the outpatient appointments, outpatient procedures, diagnostic tests, scans and complex planned surgery currently provided at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, more of our day case surgery and routine planned surgery, as well as endoscopy, would move.
There are concerns over the availability of adequate parking facilities and concerns over public transport from RSH to PRH allowing patients who do not have transport to commute between both locations. This is a further reason why I believe some planned care procedures can and should be delivered locally.
I would also wish to see the UK Government working with the Welsh Government to address the current inequity by which Welsh older person’s bus pass does not cover the costs of travel in England and vice versa. This creates a barrier to accessing cross-border healthcare for some of the greatest users of health services.
Therefore, I firmly believe that, alongside the proposed reconfiguration of services in Shropshire, it is essential that some planned care is delivered locally in our local community hospitals in Llanidloes, Newtown, Welshpool and Machynlleth, including a surgical theatre, endoscopy facilities and more use of video and remote technology to prevent the need to travel out of county see a consultant; even day case surgical procedures such as cataract operations. I would be keen to understand how SaTH might work in partnership with Powys Teaching Health Board to achieve this.
NHS services should be delivered as close as possible to home and I have previously called on the Welsh Government to allocate additional funding to Powys Teaching Health Board for minor injury units and develop a Community Hospital Development Fund to encourage the innovative use of community hospitals across rural Wales. I will be looking for the Welsh Government to revisit this suggestion following proposed changes to healthcare across the border in Shropshire.
In my view, patients should not travel significant distances for some planned care procedures when this type of elective healthcare can be delivered locally, making community hospitals more sustainable and to ensure that any additional economic, social and psychological burden of travelling further to access planned care or visiting friends and family is alleviated.
I believe the preferred option of the emergency centre located at Shrewsbury is essential. This option would also mean that some planned care would be delivered in Telford; this option presents opportunities for some planned care services to be delivered locally in Mid Wales.
Events & Advice Surgeries
Russell George AM and Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations (PAVO)
Friday 21st September - 10am to 12pm (slots available)
1st Floor Glanhafren Market Hall, Newtown (lift available)
For community groups, individuals, community councils, county and town councillors
Would you like to have more information about how PAVO can support you?
PAVO representatives will be available to discuss:
- Running your organisation (governance and trusteeship)
- Community Engagement
- Training on all aspects of running a voluntary organisation
Please feel free to drop in or make an appointment by calling PAVO on 01597 822191.
I will also be available to discuss your concerns.