THE most important consultation that will have a life or death effect on the people of Powys, has started,

On Wednesday, May 30 Future Fit launched their 14-week public consultation on the future of NHS services at The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

A series of special public exhibition of the proposals will be held in Shropshire with one to be held at the Elephant and Castle Hotel in Newtown from 3.30pm to 7.30pm on Thursday, June 28.

In March, The UK Government announced that Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Sustainability & Transformation Partnership (STP) would receive over £300m funding for the Future Fit programme to make the changes to services.

Health Campaigner, and Powys County Councillor Joy Jones,is urging as many people as possible in Powys to have their say on the changes.

Cllr Jones, said: "Powys needs you to make your views known.

"We need as many as possible to take part so that we get the decision which is right for us here in Powys.

"A lot of work, time and energy has gone into fighting for this, and I am really pleased that Powys Teaching Health Board has also made sure there has been a strong voice for Powys in Future Fit.

"I hope you will all come out and support the work myself and others have done and the time that people from Newtown Health Forum have given to stand up and fight to keep our A&E close to the border in Shrewsbury and get our women’s and children’s unit back to Shrewsbury as it should have never been moved in the first place.

"Please listen to the plea as it is important and remember that is will be our only chance as once the decision is made there will be no changing it and if we lose it to Telford there will be no bringing it back."

Dr Simon Freeman, Accountable Officer, NHS Shropshire CCG said: “Over the last four and a half years, we’ve listened to what people have told us about the services and care they expect us to offer at the two hospitals in the future. We understand people’s frustration at the time it has taken to reach this point.

However, we are now urging people to take the opportunity to formally have their say, so that we can consider their views and any changes we may need to make to our proposed plans before making any decisions.”

David Evans, Chief Officer, NHS Telford & Wrekin CCG, said: “A formal public consultation is the way the NHS has to seek people’s views on significant changes to services. Over the next 14 weeks we will be working hard to make sure that people understand the issues we need to solve and the proposed changes we need to hear their views on. It’s important that people share with us what the options mean for them and what we need to consider putting in place or changing so that they can receive the best possible care in the future.”

The options are:

Option1: The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital becomes an Emergency Care site and the Princess Royal Hospital becomes a Planned Care site

(This is the CCGs’ preferred option)

Option 2: 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. where patients would receive care for illnesses and injuries that are not life or limb-threatening but require urgent attention.

Having a single Emergency Care site would mean that specialist doctors can treat the most serious cases in a dedicated emergency department, which is proven to be safer, provide better results for patients and reduce the amount of time people have to stay in hospital.

Having a dedicated Planned Care site would mean that patients will wait less time for their appointments and beds would be protected for planned operations, meaning that is highly unlikely operations will be cancelled due to emergency admissions.

Under either option, the proposals mean that Shropshire will keep the full range of services already offered with high quality, state-of-the-art care for patients available at two vibrant local hospitals.

The eight public exhibitions will allow people to drop in anytime from 3.30pm to 7.30pm, where residents will get the chance to meet doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff, ask questions and find out more about the proposals.

There will also be a series of pop-up style roadshows at community and public venues and the CCGs will be attending a range of meetings and events providing regular updates and answering questions.

All meetings and events will be publicised on the website and in the local media.

The full list of meetings all from 3.30pm to 7.30pm is:

June 6 - Meeting Point House, Southwater Square, Telford TF3 4HS

June-7 - Shrewsbury Football Club, Oteley Rd, Shrewsbury SY2 6ST

June 28 - Elephant and Castle Hotel, Broad St, Newtown SY16 2BQ

July 4 - Bishop Mascall Centre, Lower Galdeford, Ludlow SY8 1RZ

July 11 - Methodist Church, New Street, Wellington, Telford TF1 1LU

July 25 - Bridgnorth Leisure Centre, Northgate, Bridgnorth WV16 4ER

August 2 - The Festival Drayton Centre, Frogmore Rd, Market Drayton TF9 3AX

August 15 - Cabin Lane Church, Cabin Lane, Oswestry SY11 2LQ