Shropshire Council responds to outcome of Future Fit decision
Statement from Councillor Peter Nutting, Leader of Shropshire Council
A key priority for us as a council is to help improve the health and well-being of Shropshire residents and to ensure they have access to services and activities that will support them to lead healthier and fulfilled lives.
Shropshire Council has been actively engaged in the Future Fit working groups, public meetings and consultation events that have occurred since the initial development of its proposals.
From the outset, our aim has been, and remains, securing high-quality, clinically-safe and effective health services for the county of Shropshire. We also recognise that there are very experienced clinicians who are striving to ensure that local people have safe and effective health and social care services.
It is for this reason that we have focused on supporting a clinically-led assessment of the future acute health care needs of the communities across the length and breadth of Shropshire. We have always maintained that any decisions concerning the health of all people in Shropshire should be clinically-led and not politically-led.
We know that the location of emergency services at Shropshire’s hospitals has been a very significant and emotive issue for all of Shropshire residents. As a council we represent communities in every corner of the county: some of these are closer to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, whilst others are closer to the Princess Royal Hospital.
I have taken a personal interest in the development of the Future Fit proposals. When I became the Leader of Shropshire Council two years ago, I took the decision to have the two elected councillors who have been most actively engaged in the Future Fit discussions to continue to represent the interests of our communities. Councillors Lee Chapman and Karen Calder, supported by senior members of our staff, have ensured that the needs of our diverse towns and villages were considered.
We have ensured that the need for high-quality community services were considered in the Future Fit deliberations and the wider NHS plans for the county. We have also highlighted the need for the NHS to introduce, as soon as possible, measures that will enable more treatments to be provided at home or in local GP surgeries. This also includes measures to reduce the need for people to attend hospital for outpatient appointments.
It is vitally important for all the communities in this county that we secure high-quality, safe and effective acute treatment services, along with the resources to deliver them. As Leader of Shropshire Council, I and my Cabinet will do all that we can to secure those services and resources in the interest of all our communities.
We welcome the fact that, after several years of planning and consultations, a decision has now been made. We must now move forward and focus on those other important services within our communities that will help our residents to stay safe and well for longer and to help avoid an admission to hospital in the first place.