• Dr Simon Freeman, accountable officer for Shropshire CCG, to retire next March
  • Dr Freeman’s decision comes ahead of the outcome of a public consultation on the reconfiguration of acute services across Shropshire
  • Shropshire CCG, rated “inadequate” in 2016-17, was upgraded to “requires improvement” by in 2017-18

The accountable officer for Shropshire clinical commissioning group has announced his intention to retire next March.

Dr Simon Freeman, who has been at the CCG since April 2017, announced his intention to retire in a statement yesterday. His departure comes amid a major public outcry over reconfiguration plans for Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust.

As a temporary measure the trust decided last week to close the A&E in Telford overnight and divert patients to the Royal Wolverhampton Trust due to safety fears.

Mr Freeman said: ”Initially I came to the CCG on a 12-month secondment, but I have stayed on past my planned retirement to establish a new management team at the CCG and to help put in place plans for the transformation of the local health system.

“It is a personal decision to take retirement and I will be working a full six-month notice period through to the end of March 2019.”

The news comes following the closure last month of a long-awaited public consultation into the reconfiguration of acute services across the Shropshire sustainability and transformation footprint.

Earlier this year the government announced the STP would receive £312m in capital funding for the reconfiguration.

Final decisions on the services are expected to be made in early 2019 after the boards of Shropshire CCG and Telford and Wrekin CCG have considered the consultation evidence.

Dr Freeman’s decision also comes as the system’s provider Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust faces scrutiny over the sustainability and safety of its emergency care and maternity services.

Shropshire CCG currently faces significant financial challenges and is predicting a deficit of £13.3m for 2018-19. The commissioner was rated “inadequate” by NHS England in 2016-17 but this was upgraded to “requires improvement” in 2017-18.

Dr Julian Povey, clinical chair for Shropshire CCG, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the work Simon has done steering the CCG through a financially challenging period and laying the foundations on which we can continue to build our services for local people.

“I always knew it was Simon’s intention to retire and he leaves a lasting legacy in his dedication and work to help secure the largest investment in the history of Shropshire’s NHS with £312m for Future Fit [reconfiguration].”