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

health services.

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.

Yours sincerely

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

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