AT LONG last, a date has been put forward for the start of the Future Fit Consultation on health service changes in Shropshire.

Next Tuesday, May 8 and Wednesday, May 9, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group and Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group will be holding board meetings that should pass a date for the consultation to start on May 30.

It would then run for 14 weeks over the summer.

Since the UK Government announced in March that over £300million will be given to the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) to transform hospital services, health campaigners in Powys have been expecting the consultation on the Options for an Emergency Care Site and Planned Care Site to start .

During the last year their patience has been stretched to the limit with several false dawns and even a referendum on the options being held in Welshpool in October - which was supposed to have been during a consultation period.

The report paper going in front of the boards, says: "The Governing Body is asked to approve the minor amends to the long consultation document and survey and agree the recommendation from the Future Fit Programme Board to commence a formal 14 week public consultation on May 30, 2018.

"These documents were previously received by the Board in November 2017 and under delegated authority given to the CCG Chief Officer approved with minor changes as agreed at Board.

"These documents are now presented to the Governing Body for final approval."

Powys Health campaigner, Joy Jones, said: "I'm pleased that we're finally arriving at a date to start the consultation and I hope that it's agreed.

"It's taken so long to get to this point it's vital that we get people here in Powys giving their views as part of the consultation.

"The public need to come out and get involved in this, we need to get as many people as possible taking part.

"If we don't take part it will be too late if the decision does not suit us."

In Welshpool plans are already afoot to send out pamphlets to go with the formal consultation paper to be delivered to every home in the town.

The Town Council will also host a day in the Corn Exchange to help people fill in the consultation document online or in paper form.

The Options are:

Option One: The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital becomes an Emergency Care site and the Princess Royal Hospital becomes a Planned Care site

Option Two: The Princess Royal Hospital becomes an Emergency Care site and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital becomes a Planned Care site

Under either option, both hospitals would have an Urgent Care Centre that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but Option One is the preferred one.