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Slow going in Shropshire

Reconfiguration in the NHS is rarely a speedy process, as the frustrated MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham Daniel Kawczynski is now finding out.

A consultation on the reconfiguration of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has stalled because Shropshire CCCG and Telford and Wrekin CCG have been unable to reach an agreement on the plans.

Shropshire’s Future Fit programme was launched almost two years ago, with the preferred option to move all emergency and critical care to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, while the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford would become an urgent care centre with a midwifery led unit.

At a joint committee meeting last month, six Shropshire CCG representatives voted for the plan, while six representatives from Telford and Wrekin CCG voted against.

Mr Kawczynski has called on NHS England and Simon Stevens to break the deadlock.

He told HSJ: “I find NHS England and the chief executive of NHS England very remote; we don’t get responses from the head of NHS England as quickly as we would have liked and it’s almost as if NHS England has taken a back seat to supervision on what are critical situations.

“My question to the chief executive of NHS England would be why and how he has allowed these massive delays to take place? Where was the ongoing managerial supervision to ensure that these decisions are taken in a timely cost effective way? Why has NHS England been extensively silent and detached from this process?”

NHS England answered: “The transformation of health services is led locally and system leaders in Shropshire are responsible for the Future Fit programme.”

Pressure pile-up

Extra strain on emergency services in recent weeks has led to “significant additional and unplanned financial pressure” on NHS trusts, NHS Improvement has warned.

In a letter to trust leaders last week, NHSI said many providers have found ways to address the financial pressures, often with support from commissioners. But other trusts have “more work to do”.

Many providers will have been forced to deploy additional agency and bank staff in recent weeks in order to cope with increased activity levels in non-elective services.

It is therefore likely that for many trusts, unplanned expenditure has made their year-end financial targets even harder to meet. It is not yet clear how much unplanned expenditure there has been.