Health shake-up 'could create orthopaedic centre'

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital
Image caption The long-term proposals include the reorganisation of all services including hospitals, GP surgeries and social care

A hospital consultant says a proposed shake-up of health services could see a specialist orthopaedic centre created.

Mark Cheetham, of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said the new centre could lead to fewer orthopaedic surgery cancellations.

Mr Cheetham, the trust's care group medical director, said cancellations occurred "too frequently" because of others needing emergency treatment.

The sustainability and transformation plan has been criticised by NHS bosses.

The NHS Future Fit programme was launched in 2014 to review the health system across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and mid-Wales and reorganise services.

Shropshire's health chiefs say the review is necessary because demand on services is rising and "outstrips" available funding, putting pressure on all services.

Mr Cheetham said it could lead to an "opportunity" to develop a specialist orthopaedic centre which would lead to fewer cancellations as such patients were currently "mixed in with emergency patients".

"Most patients having orthopaedic surgery don't need access to critical care, what they do need is access to a bed in an orthopaedic ward," he said.

In December, a leaked letter from NHS England to the trust's chief executive Simon Wright said it had "little confidence" in the proposals. The NHS bosses said millions of pounds of funding may not be available and asked for a revised scheme to be submitted.

However, Mr Wright said the plan was still a "working document".

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