Knew it was coming of course. But still a major disappointment. The Shropshire Future Fit Board has today decided to abandon any idea of a new 'Emergency Care' hospital on a green field site between Shrewsbury and Telford. Just too expensive. The option I've been dreaming of has fallen off the edge.
The reality now is that, basically, there are two proposals left on the table - changing the Royal Shrewsbury into an 'emergency centre' and the Princess Royal at Telford into a 'Diagnostic and Treatment Centre' Or the other way around. There will also be an Urgent Care Centre and some local planned care at both hospitals. Either way, it's inevitable there will be a lesser range of services available at both hospitals. Not necessarily an overall poorer service in my view. But deeply concerning just the same. I have no option but support this reform. There is no alternative if we are to retain a sustainable hospital service available to Shropshire and Mid Wales into the future.
The Future Fit Board's 'preferred final option' will be announced in 7 weeks time. The formal consultation will begin end of December. Importantly, a full business case will be prepared for each option before the formal consultation. This will conclude before Assembly election purdah, and the final decision announced next May.
Two other important issues yet to be decided. Firstly, will the amazing new Women's and Children's Hospital remain in Telford or be moved to Shrewsbury. And secondly, what network of Urgent Care Centres will be developed across Shropshire.
Major interest for me, and everyone else in Montgomeryshire is what is going to happen our side of Offa's Dyke. The retention of an Urgent Care Centre at Bishops Castle is especially significant. It's most odd. Big decision been taken today in Shropshire, about future health care in Montgomeryshire, and almost no- one seems to be engaged with the debate.