Tracey Huffer, councillor for Ludlow South, has updated me on this morning’s Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee meeting at Shirehall.
None of us knew before the weekend that Ludlow’s Stretton Ward is to close at the end of this week. Tracey asked an urgent question at the meeting about what was happening and who knew about it. What she learnt was that almost no one had foreknowledge of the plans – not even the people who fund Ludlow Hospital.
Dr Julie Davies is Director of Strategy and Service Redesign at the Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Responding to Tracey’s question at the scrutiny committee, she said the CCG was not aware of the ward closure until the weekend. She told the meeting that there are questions to be asked of Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust. The Trust had a service delivery contract with the CCG. This had not altered and she did not know whether the closure was allowed under the contract. This will be checked urgently.
Dr Davies was also concerned that the plan would reintroduce a mixed sex ward. This is something that the government has been striving to eliminate.
“At this moment, it seems that very few of the main players in our local health service knew of this decision. The CCG did not know. The GPs didn’t know. This seems to be a unilateral decision taken by the Community Health Trust in defiance of government directions that mixed sex wards should be eliminated.”
“We need our community hospital. We need more facilities there. We’ll fight this decision in any way we can.”
At Tracey’s request, the health scrutiny committee is to write to the Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, asking it to give an explanation for its actions.
Tracey has also written to Mike Ridley, Community Health Trust, asking him to seriously rethink the proposal to close Stretton Ward.