An update on Future Fit, Rural Urgent Care Centres & BCPG response: Oct 2015

This update was presented to Bishop’s Castle Town Council, Tuesday 6th October 2015.

This update covers:

  • Decisions on the future of Emergency, Urgent and Planned Care provision in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin; and
  • Decisions on Rural Urgent Care Centres and community provision.

Acute Hospital Options

The NHS Future Fit Programme Board was expected at its meeting on Thursday 1st October to agree a final shortlist, with a recommended preferred option, for acute hospital provision. This preferred option was to be the subject of full public consultation from December. The key choice is whether to locate a new single Emergency Centre at either Shrewsbury or Telford. It was decided to defer any conclusion until there is an approvable investment case. In the meantime, the hospital trust (SATH) has been asked to bring forward proposals to deal with its current financial deficit and to improve clinical services. It is hoped that it may be possible to consult on a single Emergency Centre by summer 2016.

Rural Urgent Care Centres

The creation of Rural Urgent Care Centres, alongside two Urban Urgent Care Centres at Shrewsbury and Telford, is an integral part of the NHS Future Fit plan for a single Emergency Centre. Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital has been considered as a possible location for a centre. The Programme Board has decided to extend its investigation into rural urgent care and in particular whether the needs of each locality are best served by a UCC or a different investment in community services. In doing so, the work will seek a much better understanding of how local doctors and others are involved in urgent care provision and the impacts on all local NHS services.

BCPG Response

  • Making the right decision about the future location of a new Emergency Centre is of paramount importance and there is no short cut to a full and proper evaluation of the choices. Patients do not want to be consulted on unrealistic proposals.
  • Fixing some of the clinical and budgetary problems at our main hospitals is necessary now and therefore the decision to do so is welcomed and should not lead to wasted expenditure.
  • BCPG has argued consistently that with regard to rural urgent care ‘one size does not fit all’ and is therefore very pleased that this is now recognised. Also, very welcome is the importance now attached to the role of local doctors in the provision of urgent care. This is consistent with our call for GP-led urgent care in the Bishop’s Castle locality, which utilises the Community Hospital to maximum local benefit.

What Next

  • Full and cooperative engagement with the next stage of Future Fit work on rural urgent care that is due to report in March 2016;
  • Participate in the next round of RUCC consultations and lead the discussion on the needs of our local communities with regard to local health care; and
  • Participate in the meeting called by South Shropshire MP to discuss local community opportunities.