Health chiefs have today (14 May) approved plans to create a single organisation that will be responsible for buying NHS healthcare services for the whole of Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin.
Today's decision by a board of the borough’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to progress with the next stage of the merger process, has been followed by a warning from Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care.
Cllr Andy Burford says such changes require public consultation.
He is also warning that the planned merger will harm health care services in the borough.
In a statement, he said: “A decision of this magnitude must surely be subject to some form of public consultation?
“The CCGs have a duty to consult with groups such as the Council’s Health Overview Scrutiny Commission, the patients’ representative group Healthwatch to name but two.
“It beggars belief that such a top-down decision can be imposed on the borough without any regard for the public’s views.
He said: “The CCG is making a decision based on very little detail as to how our residents’ interests would be protected. They are effectively ready to sign a blank cheque, a cheque that I fear will be used to bail out Shropshire CCG’s years of mismanagement.
“This cannot be at the expense of our residents and their health services.
“The Council has put forward an alternative way to make the savings required by bringing together CCG and Council services at a borough level in an integrated health and social care system that would allow greater focus on local issues rather than creating a big, remote body making decisions that do not focus solely on the borough.
“A new merged CCG will be less accountable for the £50million of health service cuts it will have to drive through.”