An Open Letter to Dr Simon Freeman, accountable officer at Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and David Evans, chief officer at Telford & Wrekin CCG
Dear Dr Freeman and Mr Evans,
The Constituency Labour Parties of Shropshire and Montgomeryshire are united in their
rejection of the Future Fit proposals for the reshaping of our local NHS which neither offer
a sustainable future for our health services nor meet the diverse needs of our
At a time when our local NHS faces an annual shortfall of some £135 million as a direct
result of year-on-year Government underfunding, we need a long-term vision for our local
health and social care services and the investment to go with it.
Instead, Future Fit offers nothing more than a short-term cost-cutting exercise which will
leave us with just one A&E department (or so-called emergency department) to serve the
whole of Shropshire and Mid Wales while reducing other key services and making others
harder for patients and their families to access. What is more, Future Fit will require a
capital expenditure of £312 million which will be part funded through PFI-type deals and
incur interest charges of at least £11m a year which will lead to still further cuts in our
We very much regret that local Conservative MPs have welcomed a package which will
result in expensive new buildings but around 40 fewer medical hospital beds, some 330
fewer nurses and none of the previously promised improvements to the community NHS
services, public health programmes and social care provision we so urgently need.
In addition, a down-graded Princess Royal Hospital in Telford will lose its A&E department
and its new £28 million Women and Children’s Centre, the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will
no longer undertake planned operations and rural areas will lose their Maternity Units. The
ambulance service will be placed under still greater pressure and patients will have to
travel further for routine treatment.
We are open to any set of proposals which will improve the level and quality of care for
our communities. But we cannot support measures which will have the opposite effect
and which place both patients and staff at risk.
Moreover, we deplore a consultation exercise which is designed to divide communities by
forcing them to choose between two much needed hospitals.
Finally but not least, we have grave misgivings about Future Fit’s viability. We were
shocked to see from Dr Freeman’s tweet on 30 May that “the exact structure of funding
has yet been finalised” (sic) though it is likely to involve the sale of NHS land as well as
private finance. In addition, we see from SaTH’s latest annual report that, though the
Future Fit business case depends on a reduction in the Trust’s deficit to £10.1 million by
2020-1, it is actually forecast to rise this year from £17.4 million to £20.5 million.
We would be grateful to know how you justify proceeding with Future Fit before you can
be confident whether, how, when and at what cost it can be funded.
We will stand up for our communities and campaign for the maintenance of A&E
departments and other essential services at both hospitals and for fair funding for
Shropshire’s NHS to provide the highest quality of care for all of us, when we need it and
whatever our income or postcode.
We urge you to withdraw the current proposals and replace them with a strategic plan
designed and funded to meet the needs of all the communities of Shropshire and Mid-
We look forward to hearing from you.
Peter Bradley, Chair, The Wrekin CLP
Tim Finch, Secretary, Telford CLP
Charlie Scotton-Peters, Chair, Ludlow CLP
Gillian Blackburn, Chair, Montgomeryshire CLP
Roger Walker, Chair, North Shropshire CLP
Alan Mosley, Chair, Shrewsbury & Atcham CLP