We can’t trust Philip Dunne on health after the Ludlow hospital debacle

MP Philip Dunne’s latest email newsletter is out today. Six articles down you can read his views on the health consultation, Future Fit. The consultation concerns yet another health service reorganisation that will reshape A&E and other services. It gives no guarantee our community hospital in Ludlow will continue. In his newsletter, Mr Dunne says:

There has already been much misinformation through the local press about this issue, which is already causing anxiety for some local residents and leading others to leap prematurely to the barricades… In reality, Future Fit is still in its early stages.

Of course he is right about Future Fit being in its early stages. But I take particular objection to his statement that:

There is a particular irony that those making the most noise to ‘defend our NHS’ were also those leading calls for Ludlow not to get a new hospital last year.

This statement is ill-informed and downright wrong.

The campaign was a protest against relocating the GP surgeries to the Eco Park site leaving no medical services in a town centre, not against a new hospital.

Dunne clearly did not have Friday’s local papers in front of him when he wrote today’s newsletter. Otherwise he would have known that the League of Friends, major backers of the former Eco Park hospital project, are worried sick we might lose our community hospital if the town does not get an urgent care centre under Future Fit.

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We all remember that Dunne proudly trumpeted in January 2013 that work on the new hospital could begin after Easter.

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That didn’t happen, did it? Then, after the project was scuppered by health bosses, Dunne declared he would continue fighting for the new hospital.

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That didn’t happen either.

On 3 September, MPs debated the future of community hospitals led by Charlie Elphicke (Dover) who argued that they should be “put more closely at the heart of Government health care policy”. MPs’ outline experiences that sound uncannily similar to those of Ludlow and Shropshire. None of our MPs were present, including Mr Dunne.

That’s why we can’t trust Philip Dunne on health. He didn’t get it right before and he’s not getting it right now. His mind is on ministerial defence duties not the health of the people of Ludlow.

We should not be scared of change in the local NHS. But we should be worried that the changes under Future Fit could be to the detriment of Ludlow residents and those that live in the southwest of the county. We must keep our East Hamlet hospital and that’s why campaigning must begin now, not after decisions are made and it is too late to save our NHS.

There will be a Future Fit consultation session in Ludlow on Tuesday 23 September. You must book a place to attend.