PLANS for a controversial shake- up of services at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) have passed a significant milestone.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust Board approved a report outlining the business case for the future of Shrewsbury and Telford hospital services, which includes asking for a capital loan of £34.96m.

The proposals, which underwent public consultation in the spring, include moving maternity and children’s services from Shrewsbury to Telford’s Princess Royal.

Controversially, this means a reduction in beds in the paediatric assessment unit at the RSH and opening hours cut from 24 hours to 13 hours, which will become nurse rather than consultant led.

The plan is that Telford will become the centre for treating children and pregnancies with complications.

Meanwhile, Shrewsbury will be the centre for acute surgery and major trauma, such as road accidents, and specialise in areas such as vascular and gastro-intestinal surgery.

At the meeting the board endorsed the outline business case, but it has yet to be considered by the relevant Primary Care Trusts on September 13, and by the Strategic Health Authority on September 27.

A series of public meetings, staff meetings, workshops, newsletters and focus groups are now planned to invite comments and feedback.