More planned hospital services should be delivered in Montgomeryshire, according to the region's AM, Russell George.

The proposed reconfiguration of health services in Shropshire will see widescale changes to how healthcare is delivered in the region, and that should also mean that more planned healthcare is delivered in Montgomeryshire's community hospitals, he says.

A decision on Shropshire's 'Future Fit' proposals, due to be announced early this year, will set out the future of the two hospital sites which provide emergency care to North Powys at Shrewsbury and Telford.

The preferred option of the consultation is to make the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital the single emergency centre for the region, while planned care would take place at a downgraded Princess Royal Hospital, in Telford.

After questioning the Labour Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething AM, in the National Assembly for Wales, Mr George said:

"I have expressed the view that, alongside the proposed reconfiguration of services in Shropshire, it is essential that some planned care is delivered locally in our local community hospitals in Llanidloes, Newtown, Welshpool and Machynlleth, to prevent the need to travel out of county to see a consultant.

"I was pleased that the Minister committed to working in partnership with Powys Teaching Health Board and other partners to achieve this and I was pleased to hear the example of maternity care where more women are able to access complex maternity care that is midwife led within Powys, rather than having to travel further afield to do so.

"Moving forward, I will continue to campaign for NHS services to be delivered as close as possible to home and I have previously called on the Welsh Government to allocate additional funding to Powys Teaching Health Board for minor injury units and develop a Community Hospital Development Fund to encourage the innovative use of community hospitals across rural Wales. This would making community hospitals more sustainable and ensure that any additional economic, social and psychological burden of travelling further to access planned care or visiting friends and family is minimised."

Speaking to the assembly, Vaughan Gething AM said he was 'happy to support' a plan to deliver more planned services in Powys, regardless of the outcome of Future Fit consultations.

"Powys teaching health board already deliver a range of planned healthcare, and they actually have a very good track record on delivering that within time. They also have real ambition, which we're happy to support, to continue to deliver as much planned healthcare within Powys or as local to Powys as possible too," he said.

"We will know at the end of this month what option is to be pursued, and I look forward to having a properly constructive relationship between Powys health board and their partners. "