Opinions on the future of hospital services run by Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust remain heavily divided, the results of a preliminary report into consultation exercises show.

The 15 week period of consultation events saw drop in sessions held across Powys, giving the public the chance to have their say on the organisations 'Future Fit' process, which seeks to reorganise health services at Shropshire's two main hospitals at Telford and Shrewsbury, which serve Mid Wales.

Among the most controversial proposals being consulted on include the potential downgrading of Telford's Accident and Emergency unit to become an 'Urgent Care Unit', with all A&E services transferred to Shrewsbury, as the preferred outcome.

The report said that respondents from Mid Wales showed the highest levels of agreement with this proposal, however respondents from Telford pointed to the town's growing urban population which therefore needs its own ‘A&E’.

The report's findings were gathered from 18,742 surveys received from the public, as well as 203 letters.

Just over half of the online and hard copy surveys received were from the Telford and Wrekin area, 19% of all surveys were received from residents of Shropshire, 8% from the Wales/Shropshire border and 8% from Powys. 9% chose not to state their postcodes and 5% were from out of the area.

Dr Simon Freeman, Accountable Officer for Shropshire CCG, said: "It was important that a wide range of people across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales gave us their views and were able to share their concerns which are highlighted in this independent report.

“This report is just one of a number of pieces of work that we need to take our time to consider before progressing to making any decisions and shape the future of health care for local people. It is vital that we also consider the outcomes of a number of other pieces of work, which are also published today. This includes public, community and non-emergency travel and transport activity, ambulance modelling, the impact that any changes to hospital services may have on seldom heard groups and the proposed plans to improve community services for health and care closer to home.”

Future Fit organisers say further meetings will take place over the coming weeks with a decision expected in early 2019.