Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee welcomes capital funding announcement
Councillors from Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council have welcomed news that the local NHS has secured the capital funding needed for a major reconfiguration programme.
The councillors, who work together as the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee for Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, called representatives from the local NHS to their meeting on Thursday 15 March 2012 to quiz them on progress on hospital changes.
Councillors Derek White and Gerald Dakin, co-chairmen of the Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee, commented:
“We had heard that some residents were concerned that the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust was not keeping its promises and could not afford to borrow more than £35m. Our committee has a vital role in holding the NHS to account, so we asked representatives from the Trust to attend our meeting.
“We are clear that the NHS is meeting its promises. Adam Cairns has consistently said that the NHS will need around £35m of capital funding to pay for these changes, and that it will cost in excess of £2m to pay for this capital. It was confirmed at our meeting that this continues to be the case. This already places a major financial burden on the NHS and they could not afford to borrow more without saddling hospital services with a large debt.
“Our role is to hold the NHS to account when major changes to local health services are planned or proposed. As local councillors from Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin, working with co-opted members who represent the interests of local patients and communities, we call NHS clinicians and managers to our meetings to explain their plans and answer our questions, which are based on the issues raised with us by local residents.
“Our role did not end with this meeting. We gave our support to these plans following last year’s public consultation, and continue to support the development of the proposals. However, we will not shirk from holding the NHS to account to ensure that these changes are best option for local patients and communities, and we will be meeting again in April 2012 to look at the full business case for the plans to assure ourselves that this remains the case.”
The committee, which met at Telford and Wrekin Council offices on 15 March 2012, also heard updates on plans for life-saving Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm screening to be launched in the county, as well as the new regional Major Trauma Network arrangements which will see the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital become a Trauma Unit.
The co-chairmen added:-
“It is clear that these important and life-saving developments are only possible because of the decision that the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital should be the county’s main centre for inpatient acute surgery.”