KEY documents have been published ahead of next week's decision on the future of hospital services serving Shropshire and mid-Wales, with Montgomeryshire AM Russell George welcoming the imminent conclusion of the six-year process.

An announcement on the preferred option for emergency care in Shropshire and Mid-Wales is set to be made by the Joint Committee of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin CCGs on Tuesday, January 29, with the Royal Shrewsbury Hopsital thought likely to become the area's only major accident and emergency centre.

Mr George welcomed the publication of a document which outlined the decision making process ahead of next week's announcement.

"The long-awaited decision on the future of local hospital services in Shropshire which also serve the people of Mid Wales is imminent and I welcome the publication of this decision making document. It sets out the business case which brings together the work which has been carried out over the last six years by the Future Fit Programme Board as well as the result of the public consultation," he said.

"The people of Montgomeryshire will be watching very closely as the Board makes its final decision on 29th January as residents in Mid Wales are reliant on the services which are provided at the Royal Shrewsbury and the Princess Royal in Telford.

"As I have said previously, there is an overwhelming majority in Montgomeryshire for there to be an emergency care centre at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital rather than the Princess Royal in Telford, but I acknowledge that there are still concerns that this proposed model of care could result in residents having to travel further for some of their planned or elective healthcare.

"Therefore, while I am in support of the preferred option which has been put forward for approval at the meeting on 29th January, I have also 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.

"I await this decision with anticipation and interest and look forward to a final decision being made."

The document released by NHS Future Fit this week outlines the business case for reconfiguring Shropshire's hospital services, citing a lack of staffing cover and ongoing financial losses across the trust as the key reasons for making changes.

"Workforce is the primary driver for the proposed changes and the situation has become critical. There are serious recruitment challenges across a number of specialties due to poor employee experience related in part to the duplication of services across two sites and the resulting onerous staffing rotas," the document reads.

"Linked to this there are currently high levels of locum cover resulting in premium costs and the potential for sub-optimal care. Staffing levels do not meet those recommended for A&E, critical care and emergency care.

"Significant amounts of the existing Trust estate do not achieve a satisfactory standard and a substantial number of areas were unacceptable in a recent survey, particularly at the Shrewsbury site.

"Additionally, the local health system is in deficit, it spends more in a year than the funds allocated to it. "

The decision on the preferred location for the area's accident and emergency department will be announced at a public meeting at 6.30pm on Tuesday, January 29 at Harper Adams University, Newport.

The meeting will be live streamed via a webcast that can be accessed at and members of the public are invited to attend.