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Last Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Hospital's cash plans are delayed
The Royal Shrewsbury Hospitals NHS Trust
The trust is about 30m in debt and trying to save money
A cash-strapped English health trust which treats many Welsh patients has delayed announcing how to save 30m.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust should have started a consultation period on Monday and revealed how it was to repay the huge debt.

But a new health authority for the area has decided to conduct a review of the trust's cost-cutting proposals.

The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital serves about 50,000 people from north Powys.

The trust said there were no plans to downgrade the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital's (RSH) accident and emergency department to help save money.

Glyn Davies AM
The stakes for mid Wales healthcare could not be higher
Glyn Davies AM

Conservative Mid and West Wales AM Glyn Davies described the "last-minute cancellation" of the consultation as "deeply worrying".

"We have been waiting for the formal consultation on how the new chair and chief executive intend to sort out the mess with much trepidation about the healthcare services on which mid Wales depends," said Mr Davies.

"The plan, when it finally appears, will consider where in-patient services are to be located, how the historic debt is to be repaid and, most worryingly whether an acute hospital in Shrewsbury is clinically viable.

"The stakes for mid Wales healthcare could not be higher."

Many in Powys rely on the RSH, a 30-minute drive from Welshpool, as the area does not have a general hospital.

The nearest Welsh general hospitals are in Wrexham and Aberystwyth, at least an hour away by car.

'Delay in the launch'

Clive Walsh, director of a review into the trust's services, said: "The new Strategic Health Authority (NHS West Midlands) came into existence on 1 July 2006.

"It has decided that it must conduct its own review of any proposals for formal consultation planned by the NHS.

"This will lead to a delay in the launch of formal consultation on proposals regarding acute hospital services."

He added: "NHS West Midlands will complete its review of the proposals as soon as possible."

The trust had an accumulated historic debt of 19m, but that has risen to 31m.

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