Major changes to acute services in Shropshire have been given the green-light, paving the way for a £35m reconfiguration across the county’s two hospitals.

NHS Midlands and East has backed the business case put forward by the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, which says services need to be reconfigured for them to be safe and financially sustainable.

Under the proposals a new £28m women and children’s unit will be built at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and work will be carried out at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital to make it the main centre for inpatient acute surgery in the county.

The trust claims the plan is vital if it is to retain services within Shropshire, serving the county as well as parts of mid Wales.

Without the plan going ahead services would decline and could be at risk of being taken out of the county altogether, the trust has warned.

The new women’s unit will open in summer 2014 and will include a children’s outpatient department, children’s assessment unit and a new children’s cancer and haematology unit. It will also serve women who need a consultant-led delivery, and gynaecology patients who require an overnight stay.

Services for head and neck inpatient services will be transferred to the Princess Royal Hospital later this year.

The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will still offer some women and children’s services in improved facilities including a new children’s assessment unit, children’s outpatient department, midwife-led unit and maternity outpatient department.

The hospital has recently been designated a major trauma unit and is offering an AAA screening service for men aged 65 and older.

The trust’s chief nurse and director of quality and safety Vicky Morris said: “Local health services face significant risks that if not addressed will lead to those services declining, and in some cases moving out of the county. Doing nothing about this is not an option.

“Our number one priority is putting patients first and our plans have been designed with this in mind. We have undertaken very detailed risk assessments and are confident that we have developed the best options available to us so that we can continue delivering high quality, safe services to the people of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales.”