Leaders of Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire councils will meet with the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in order to express their concern over what they consider to be disarray within their local NHS.
The meeting in London has been organised by Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard, and council representatives will raise problems with regional care within the healthcare system.
Councillors Shaun Davies and Malcolm Pate will emphasise what they believe to be serious shortcomings in a plan intended to transform NHS healthcare across Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin.
Investment in community-based approaches could substantially reduce demand on hospital services, according to the council leaders.
Leaders from the two councils also believe that informing the Shropshire clinical commissioning groups that they must save just over £20 million is completely unrealistic.
The hierarchy of both councils agree that this will put community-based approaches at risk due to potential disinvestment in interventions, although both acknowledge that it could also ultimately lead to financial savings in the future.
Shaun Davies, Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, argues that the way hospital services are being organised in the region is fundamentally flawed.
“We have long argued that the ‘Future Fit’ reconfiguration of hospital services has been a farce. We have always been clear on the need to have two A&E departments serving Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin and this area should receive fair funding for a properly resourced health service. Even in the unlikely event that decisions on the reconfiguration of hospitals reach a conclusion in the near future it will likely take at least three years to implement any changes.”
While Malcolm Pate, Leader of Shropshire Council, paints is a worrying picture of the quality of services being delivered in the Shropshire region.
“Shropshire’s local NHS is in disarray and I welcome the opportunity to make Jeremy Hunt personally aware of our very real concerns about current and future delivery of healthcare services in Shropshire. The approach in our STP of redesigning and investing in acute services before community services makes no sense. It is the wrong way around – putting the cart before the horse.”
Pate particularly believes that the way hospital services have been reorganised has proven to be woefully inadequate.
“The process of redesigning hospital services has been cumbersome, costly, ineffective and has become a point of ridicule locally. There is no confidence in the process or leadership locally. This needs immediate external, government intervention to properly set out and implement a process of change, engagement, consultation and implementation.”
Both councils are particularly concerned with the sustainability and transformation plans that are to be implemented in the region, and will outline that particular opposition to this during the meeting with Hunt.