Telford Journal Column

All of Telford & Wrekin’s political representatives are opposed to the “Future Fit” plan to move Emergency Care and Women and Children’s Services out of the borough. We represent 175,000 people. Local hospital management has not listened throughout a complex bureaucratic process, where the outcome was always clear.  Now they have finally announced their plan, Government can act.

With a massive £312m of public money being allocated to improve hospital care in Shropshire, there should be a straightforward case to make about how 175,000 people living in Telford and Wrekin will benefit.

The reason local clinicians and hospital managers decide how public money is spent, is because they are supposed to be best placed to understand local need.

But what we have seen over the last five chaotic years of the Future Fit process, has been a sham.

Local people have not been heard, their needs have not been considered. It was never intended that they should. The bureaucrats made the decision which best suited them as managers and employers, then forced it through. Clinicians who did oppose the plan at first, were cajoled and pressured to change their mind. With careers, colleagues and families to think of, eventually they supported the management plan.

The people the Trust is paid to serve, were seen at best an irrelevance, more usually a road block. Management spent 5 years designing the perfect plan. It looked good on paper but took no account of real lives and real people. It has been impossible to get management to talk about Telford & Wrekin, our health needs, our health challenges, our future.

They see themselves to be unaccountable. They are not answerable to Government. They are not answerable to the people. We the shareholders, have no voice.

The NHS is for the people, not for the managers and not even for the employees. It’s for us. There has been so little sense of accountability that these people have not attempted to ‘sell’ their plan to us. Throughout, they would only talk in generic terms about the ‘wider population’: but they have had nothing to say about Telford & Wrekin, our health inequalities or our health comes.

How can a board of highly paid executives take forward a plan that both MPs and all councillors of all parties reject? We represent a borough of 175,000 people and we will be heard.