How I would like to have been an MP last Thursday, when my very good friend Daniel Kawczyski made his speech in the House of Commons about the relationship between Montgomeryshire and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. Assuming that the BBC report is accurate, I would have liked to have spoken about the impact that treating patients from Powys has on the finances of the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
There is some history here. A few years ago, the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospitals Trust was in deep financial trouble. Debts were in the region of £38 million. A new management team was installed, which has turned things around - using radical and effective surgery. Throughout this period of treatment, I kept in close touch with new Chief Executive, Mr Tom Taylor, a plain speaking man of financial background - because the RHS is so important to us in Montgomeryshire. Now, sometime in 2007/8 Mr Taylor gave evidence to a Committee of the House of Commons and informed MPs that if payment for the treatment of Welsh Patients had been at the same level as the treatment of English patients, his Trust would have been £2 million to the good. This is absolutely not the same thing as the RHS losing £2 million pounds as a result of treating Powys patients. In fact, during all discussions that I have had with the Chief Executive, he has been very keen to emphasise just how important the flow of patients from Powys is to the Hospital. I would be very interested in knowing what Mr Taylor thinks of what was said in the House of Commons last Thursday - so interested that I will try to arrange an appointment to see him as soon as possible. The relationship between Montgomeryshire and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital is a very special one, and over recent years I have done all I can to ensure it continues to be special. I'm not prepared to seeit trampled on. After I meet Mr Taylor, I will post a blog, outlining the real contribution that the two sides of this partnership bring to each other.