Telford’s women and children’s centre ‘will be reused’ with options including cancer services, bosses say

The women and children’s centre at Princess Royal Hospital, Telford

Shropshire’s Future Fit hospitals shake-up will see consultant-led women and children’s services moved from Princess Royal Hospital to Shrewsbury.

But giving an update on the proposals at a recent community engagement meeting, the trust’s director of public participation Julia Clarke gave assurances that the building housing the £28 million women and children’s centre, which opened in 2014, would still be used to deliver other services.

She said: “One of the things people say about women’s and children’s is ‘oh what a terrible waste of that wonderful building’.

“It won’t be wasted. It will be used for something else.

“We will still be delivering all the maternity antenatal care there.

“The women and children’s centre will be used for something and there are a number of options that are being put forward for that.

“One of them is looking at providing cancer care closer to patients in Telford and Wrekin, instead of having to travel to Shrewsbury for their treatment.”

She said a number of options for the wider Future Fit plans, now renamed the ‘hospitals transformation programme’, are being looked at and there was a “preferred option”.

“The preferred option is the full implementation of the solution but with some degree of acceleration,” she said.

“Where we can do things, rather than waiting until the whole business case is delivered, we will look at doing it in phases and where we can accelerate changes do that.

“Once it’s been to trust board it then has to go to joint investment committee, it then goes up through the NHS route up to the treasury but we are hopeful if it goes without any hitch that the outline business case for phase one would be approved in the late spring/early summer next year.”

She added: “In the 36 years that I’ve been at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) this is the furthest along I’ve ever seen it, because this is something that has been discussed in and around the county since the early 2000s.

“I’m hugely optimistic that we are now going to be able to see this come to fruition.”

Under the scheme, Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will house the county’s main A&E, with PRH due to get an ‘A&E local’ and take over responsibility for planned care.

The project’s cost has grown to £533 million from its original £312m budget, with funding only currently secured for the latter amount.

Health bosses say the scheme will deliver safer care, better outcomes for patients and reduce cancellations of planned care at SaTH, which runs both hospitals.

However, there has been opposition over the years, with campaigners claiming it will mean a lower standard of care for some.

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