Letter to NHS decision maker Sir Neil McKay regarding Future Fit
Dear Sir Neil
Thank you for your email dated 9th July.
The last discussion on this issue, between MPs and the SaTH board was 24th January 2020. It was noted at that meeting that the consolidation of hospital services onto the Shrewsbury site, would be unlikely to proceed. Not only had the costs almost doubled to £580m, but the proposed scheme was found to be flawed. It was recognised that this was an embarrassing loss of face for those who had been pushing this scheme for the last 7 years. The Interim Chief Executive, Paula Clarke, was present and was very clear that given the spiralling costs, the single site option was now back in play.
The Chairman of SaTH, Ben Reid, explained this to MPs by saying:
When we came to “unwrap the envelope” we discovered that that the Shrewsbury option was a “botched option.” He cited the footprint of Royal Shrewsbury Hospital as being unsuitable, the concerns about the vacant two floors above the new facilities, which would continue to decay over time, and the asbestos.
Clearly, using so much public money on a short term “botched option” is not something anyone can reasonably be expected to support. This project was intended to be about the long term future of healthcare in the County; what was clear at the meeting on 24th January 2020, was that the SaTH board could not support it.
There have been no subsequent discussions with Telford’s MPs on Future Fit, but the understanding was the matter was on hold during the pandemic. As with many organisations, it was assumed there would be a post pandemic reset, and that the County might receive additional funding making the single site option attainable.
Your email suggests you are in fact proposing to push on regardless with the “botched option,” despite the misgivings of the Trust board.
Before raising this in Parliament, I should be most grateful to understand, how, in the light of what was discussed at the last meeting with MPs on 24th January 2020, the defects in the botched scheme (including the asbestos) are to be addressed.
A “no,” which is for the right reasons, is less a loss of face, than a “yes” which subsequently fails.
I should be grateful for a telephone conversation early next week. I will ask my office to set this up.