Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals reorganisation plans approved
Plans for the reorganisation of hospital services in Shropshire have been given the final go-ahead by the strategic health authority (SHA).
It means many services will be focussed at either Royal Shrewsbury Hospital or Telford's Princess Royal, rather than being split across the sites.
The main paediatric and maternity units will move to Telford, while acute surgery will be based in Shrewsbury.
Approval from the SHA was the final hurdle to clear.
Adam Cairns, Chief Executive of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, welcomed the decision and said it guaranteed "high quality, safe and sustainable services".Trauma unit
He added that work on a new £28m women and children's unit would begin at Telford's Princess Royal in July and was expected to open in summer 2014.
Head and neck inpatient services are also due to be moved to Telford later this year and will be based alongside the children's unit.
The decision means the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will become a designated trauma unit and centre for acute surgery.
In March the hospitals trust was awarded an extra £35m to help reconfigure services.
Last year, more than 20,000 people signed a petition against the proposals and a number of protests were held.
The move of consultant-led maternity services to Telford was the key area of concern for many campaigners across the county and Mid Wales.
However, Labour MP for Telford David Wright welcomed the latest decision and said it made sense to move maternity and paediatric services to the Princess Royal.
"Telford is the younger and growing town and this news shows both the hospital management and the strategic Health Authority have listened to, understood and agreed with the case for Telford's Princess Royal Hospital to become the centre for those specialisms," he added.
The hospitals trust said it was working with groups to address concerns, particularly regarding access to the sites.
The SHA also approved plans by the Shropshire's Community Health NHS Trust to replace Ludlow hospital with a new £27m facility on the Eco Park.
The new facility, which would also include two GP surgeries, is expected to open in early 2014.