On Friday, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust announced that the midwifery-led unit at Ludlow will close indefinitely while its structural integrity is investigated. Ludlow’s unitary councillors are now calling for Stretton Ward at Ludlow Community Hospital to be reopened to accommodate maternity cases. Stretton Ward was closed without notice in July 2015 shortly after it had been completely refurbished.
Ludlow and Clee councillors Tracey Huffer, Vivienne Parry, Richard Huffer and Andy Boddington are calling for Stetton Ward to reopened immediately as a replacement maternity unit.
The maternity unit is in the old workhouse which has long been in a parlous state of repair. There have been discussions about moving maternity services into the modern hospital building over the years but nothing has been done. We would be surprised if the maternity unit reopens in the workhouse building because it is pretty much a wreck.
We want Stretton Ward to be reopened. This was refurbished a few years back at great expense and has all the needed modern facilities. We can’t understand why it hasn’t already been reopened to take local women seeking a midwifery-led birth. People don’t want to go to as far as Telford to give birth.
Around one hundred women give birth in Ludlow every year. We have had a very successful low risk service running for many years. The midwifery-led service should be reinstated in Stretton Ward without delay.
We are worried that one of the problems is the fragmented management of the Ludlow Hospital site. The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust runs the maternity services. The Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust runs the main hospital. NHS Property Services owns the site itself. We are not sure they are working together effectively.
We concerned too that this closure will lead to permanent withdrawal of maternity services from rural areas such as ours.
If there are fewer services at Ludlow Community Hospital, there is every danger that it will close. That would be wrong. If we don’t have an established centre for delivery of specialist health services in Ludlow, we won’t get those services in Ludlow in the future.