Trust welcomes decision of Independent Reconfiguration Panel to move forward with NHS Future Fit plans

The Trust that runs Shropshire’s two acute hospitals has welcomed a decision to move forward with plans to transform hospital services for the people of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has accepted advice from an independent panel of experts that the reconfiguration of the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH), through the NHS Future Fit scheme, should be allowed to go ahead.

PRH will become a dedicated Planned Care site and RSH will become a specialist Emergency Care site. This will allow specialist doctors to treat the most serious cases at 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 will be protected for planned operations, meaning that is highly unlikely operations will be cancelled due to emergency admissions. In addition, patients will be able to access 24-hour urgent care services at both hospitals. This means that the vast majority of patients will continue to go to the same hospital as they do now for emergency and urgent care.

This landmark decision will result in better care for patients, secure the £312 million from HM Treasury and develop both hospital sites to deliver state-of-the-art facilities in which staff will be proud to work and patients will choose to be treated.

Paula Clark, Chief Executive at SaTH, said: “This is great news for our Trust, but most importantly for the patients we serve across the whole of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales and for our staff, who have been waiting for this decision for many long years.

“The Independent Reconfiguration Panel visited the county to speak not only to our clinicians, but also to those who have objected to the plans, and they have made it clear that the proposals that have been put forward should go ahead without further delay. That was the unanimous verdict of all members of the panel.”

In its advice, the independent panel said: “The opportunity to visit the services and test the evidence with those involved locally served to reinforce the written evidence about the case for change.

“Even if the ever-present problems of recruiting clinical staff to achieve safe rotas were resolved, the current model of emergency services provided through the two hospitals compromises safety and quality.

“The Panel heard frequently from the clinicians responsible for delivering these services that this is a daily concern and drives their advocacy for a new model of hospital care which will provide what the population currently does not get – access to consistently safe, high-quality emergency care and treatment 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.”

The panel’s advice comes with a number of recommendations, including that “the urgent care model should enable as much clinically appropriate care to be delivered at PRH as possible. Options for diagnostics, ambulatory emergency care and frailty assessment must be considered”.

This is something the Trust has supported all along and will continue to explore through the development of its Outline Business Case and Full Business Case.

Mr Andrew Tapp, Medical Director for the Hospitals Transformation Programme at SaTH, said: “This is great news and means we can now move forward to provide better care for our patients who require emergency treatment and planned operations.

“Our hospitals serve more than half a million people and we owe it to them to provide the very best services possible. The reconfiguration of PRH and RSH will allow us to address the difficulties created by our current clinical set up and estate and resolve the continuing problems of staffing and recruitment.

“There is still a long way to go, and our Hospitals Transformation Team will be working hard with clinical and estates teams across the Trust to make sure we get the best possible outcome from the huge investment in our health service in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.”

Dr Ed Rysdale, an A&E Consultant at SaTH, said: “This is excellent news and I am excited about getting further involved in the re-design. It’s about making sure we create the right services for our patients – this means having a first class emergency department and planned care facilities.

“The reconfiguration plans have been clinically led from the start and the time has now come for us to get on and do it.”

Dr Chris Mowatt, Consultant Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Foundation Year One Training Programme Director, said: “The vision, very clearly, is two thriving hospitals which work for everyone. This will mean changes on both sites but it should not be seen as bolstering one at the expense of the other.

“Creating improved provision for planned care means that patients are more likely to get the operations they need, on time and organised in a smooth, efficient way. Reconfiguring services to streamline care will help patients know what to expect and create better hospitals as we move towards the future.

“The doctors, nurses and hospital management that have worked on Future Fit live and work in communities served by the Royal Shrewsbury and Princess Royal hospitals. It matters to all of us that we have a good local NHS and that we make things better for everyone wherever they live.”

Nurse Ruth Smith, who leads Patient Experience at SaTH, said: “Having specialist emergency care consolidated and delivered at a single site to treat acutely ill and injured patients will ensure that clinicians with specialist skills are available to meet the needs of patients.

“The decision will have a positive impact upon improving patient outcomes and experience as we will now be able to provide a safer, kinder and more effective service at the time this is needed most.

“This is a great opportunity to work together with patients, their carers and the community in a collaborative approach to the development of services to ensure that they are planned around the needs of the patient.”

Mr Mark Cheetham, Consultant Surgeon at SaTH, said: “The future model of care has clear advantages, it will provide better care and better results for our patients – and ensure that our two hospitals can continue to serve the people of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales for a long time to come.

“It is now time to put past issues behind us and work with the people of Telford & Wrekin, and all other interested parties, to develop urgent care services at PRH.”

A significant amount of work will take place to implement the huge improvements that patients will experience.

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:

  • Planned inpatient surgery
  • Day case surgery
  • Breast inpatient services
  • Medical wards

Most people will still receive care and treatment in the same hospital as they do now, as the following services will be provided at both hospitals:

  • 24-hour Urgent Care Centre (the majority of patients who attend our A&E departments will receive care and treatment here)
  • Adult and children’s outpatient services
  • Day Case Renal Unit
  • Tests (diagnostics)
  • Midwife Led Unit (MLU)
  • Antenatal Day Assessment Unit
  • Early Pregnancy Assessment Service (EPAS)
  • Maternity outpatients and scanning

More information can be found at www.nhsfuturefit.org

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