PLANS for a major shake-up of two of the main hospitals serving Powys are set to take a step forward this month.

The controversial hospital reorganisation would see emergency medicine moving to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, with Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital focussing on planned care.

Later this month, a strategic outline case for the move will be presented to the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust board later this month.

Mark Brandreth, the Interim Accountable Officer at the county’s Clinical Commissioning Group, said projected costs had increased from the £312 million originally approved by the government due to inflation and design changes.

But he told Telford and Wrekin’s Health and Wellbeing Board that, despite the rise, the plans were still within the parameters of the consultation held in 2018.

 Mr Brandreth said: “Just before the pandemic, the Shrewsbury and Telford Hopsital NHS Trust, who were the lead on this, were beginning to work on the strategic outline case [SOC].

“It’s a fairly short document that sets out the way the scheme would be delivered and, in effect, is the beginning of the call-down for money from NHS England.

“The pandemic got in the way and as we realigned everyone to the front line, work like this was paused, and rightly so.

“Over the summer, colleagues have picked this up and we are working towards consideration of that SOC by the SaTH board towards the end of the year and the start of the national process in December."

Two things affecting costs are inflation, and the expectation that new hospital buildings should have wards that mostly comprise single rooms rather than four- or six-bed wards – a policy shift brought about by the pandemic.

“We’re going to be living with Covid, and other things we probably don’t even know about, so infection control is going to be really significant," Mr Brandreth added.

“We’re having conversations with NHS England about the consequences of that, but it’s safe to say we are intending to try to get that through the national process towards Christmas.

“We will be able to share the SOC when it goes into the public domain later in the autumn, so soon.

“It has to be submitted in December, so SaTH will consider it at the end of October.”

The Department of Health and Social Care approved £312 million of funding in 2018, based on estimates in a draft business case compiled two years earlier, but revisions the following year saw that rise to £533 million.