Anyone who has followed the extraordinary Future Fit saga, will find the leaked decision to close Telford’s new Women and Children’s unit and move it to Shrewsbury, incomprehensible.
I have long campaigned for the proposed new Critical Care unit to join the existing £30m Women and Children’s unit at the Princess Royal Hospital.
The units need to be together to deliver the best clinical outcomes. That is clear. In addition this is the cheapest option, the quickest and the easiest option to build.
Telford has a burgeoning population of young families and is the fastest growing town in the West Midlands. The Women and Children’s unit was a much needed and welcome addition to our healthcare provision.
Having attended the briefing meetings over the years, the option of decommissioning Telford’s brand new Women and Children’s unit and building a new unit elsewhere was always viewed as incredible.
Telford is growing fast. We have new schools, new houses, new jobs, and new businesses in our flourishing town. The decision to decommission our Women and Children’s unit, so it can be rebuilt alongside an as yet un-built Critical Care unit in Shrewsbury is inconsistent with Telford’s growing need.
The previous Chief Executive of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust was clear: RSH was ‘unthinkable’ as an option for Critical Care because the site footprint was ‘entirely unsuitable.’
We must ask:
“Who are the people tasked with making this decision?”
“What is the cost of decommissioning our new Women and Children’s Unit and rebuilding it elsewhere?”
“How does the solution meet the needs of the young families in Shropshire, where the need is weighted to Telford?”
I will challenge this decision every step of the way.
If the Women and Children’s unit fits clinically along side the Critical Care unit, it would be sensible to build the new unit alongside the existing state of the art Women and Children’s unit.
Theresa May said the day she became Prime Minister that if you are born poor you will die on average 9 years earlier than others – the decision to move the Women’s & Children’s unit is incompatible with the PM’s clear wishes.
It is incomprehensible that this proposal will take healthcare from an area with significant pockets of deprivation - and spend time and money rebuilding it somewhere more affluent.
Future Fit has been an endless saga, but it is only just beginning.