In March 2018 the Government backed the Future Fit proposals with £312 million. Release of this funding is subject to the usual business case approvals process, which includes approval by Departmental Ministers and HM Treasury.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has formal decision-making powers relating to service change under Regulation 23(9) of the Local Authority (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny Regulations) 2013. Where a local authority has referred a reconfiguration to him, the Secretary of State may make a final decision on the proposals and give directions to NHS England and NHS Improvement. On 2 October 2019 the Secretary of State communicated his decision that the Future Fit proposals should proceed, whilst keeping the accident and emergency (A&E) at the Princess Royal Hospital open as an A&E Local. On 6 January 2020, he also directed NHS England to work with the clinical commissioning groups and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) to implement the A&E Local model.
The National Health Service has made recommendations on the legislation changes it would like to see and the Department is considering those proposals.
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust has faced staffing challenges in A&E departments and critical care services. Both this and an increase in attendances at the Emergency Department has resulted in doctors being on-call more frequently and working extra hours across two hospital sites. It has also been necessary to recruit temporary staff.
For the month of December 2019, 14.38% of nursing hours worked across both the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital, were staffed from agency.
The reconfiguration will address staffing challenges, by consolidating some emergency services onto one site and reducing duplication. The Future Fit proposals aim to deliver high quality, safe services for all patients for the long term. Achieving this will support the recruitment of the right level of highly skilled doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff.