THE HEALTH Secretary has backed the Future Fit proposals, which will see Telford lose its full accident and emergency department and Shrewsbury host the only one in the county.

The Labour leader of Telford and Wrekin Council called the decision a “kick in the teeth”, but Conservative figures say the 'A&E Local' model that is proposed to move in to the Princess Royal Hospital is “likely to involve increased consultant services”.

In January, NHS commissioners approved the £312million package of proposals, which will also see the PRH’s consultant-led Women’s and Children’s Service move to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospitals.

Planned care will take place at PRH and 24-hour urgent care will be available at both sites.

Following a request from Telford and Wrekin Council, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock ordered an Independent Reconfiguration Panel to review the decision, and he backed its finding yesterday.

Mr Hancock wrote: “After careful consideration, the IRP is of the view that: The new model of hospital care should be implemented, and the emergency care centre is better located at the RSH; and the ‘urgent care model’ should allow as much clinically-appropriate care to be delivered at the PRH as possible.

“I have therefore asked NHS England to provide advice on how the ‘urgent care model’ at PRH can be delivered through an ‘A&E Local’.”

Telford MP Lucy Allan criticsed the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust for making “no attempt to reassure Telford residents how, under their planned model, A&E would be accessed some 20 miles from Telford.”

She added: “The A&E Local for PRH may be the much-needed step forward in this sorry saga.”

Ms Allan admitted it wasn’t clear what services it would deliver, but said Mr Hancock would receive a report from NHS England with more details within a month.

Responding to Mr Hancock’s letter on Twitter, Cllr Davies said: “What a kick in the teeth from our Conservative government”.

He added that “A&E Local” sounded similar to the already-promised urgent care centre, and accused Ms Allan of “taking Telford residents for fools”.

An official statement from Telford and Wrekin Council is due later today, he said.

Telford Conservative Association chairman Nicola Lowery, said she was “extremely disappointed” by the IRP’s advice.

“However,” she added, “this is a clinically-led and independently determined recommendation and I’m encouraged to see that the Health Secretary has requested further advice on implementing an ‘A&E Local’.

“The A&E Local model has not been formally defined by NHS England and, from previous discussions with the Health Secretary on this, it is likely to involve increased A&E consultant services which would ensure that patients are still able to receive treatment and access many of the services they do now.

“I Iook forward to the Health Secretary providing more specific details.”