Our letter to health executives on sudden closure of Ludlow maternity ward

Yesterday, we wrote to Simon Wright, chief executive of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), and Jan Ditheridge, chief executive of Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust (ShropCom).

We are concerned that a lack of joined up working prevented switching midwifery-led maternity services from one part of Ludlow hospital to another. We are not expecting maternity services to reopen in the old building. It is not fit for purpose and the repair bill will be huge. But there is plenty of space in the modern hospital building. Our letter asks why maternity services were not moved to the empty Stretton Ward.

SaTH ran the maternity unit in the old workhouse block of Ludlow Community Hospital. ShropCom runs services in the modern block. The hospital site is owned by NHS Property Services (PropCo). Health services on the site are commissioned by Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

This divided management structure for a small hospital provides some of the context for our letter.

A Facebook group has been set up to fight for reopening of the maternity unit. Please join Save Ludlow Maternity Unit.

Letter to Simon Wright and Jan Ditheridge 19 October 2016

Dear Simon and Jan

We write to express concern at the sudden closure of the midwifery-led maternity unit at Ludlow Hospital.

We would like to know why, given the long term dilapidation of the former workhouse building, it was closed at such short notice.

Our main concern is that this temporary but indefinite closure will lead to the permanent loss of midwifery-led maternity services in Ludlow. The workhouse building is unlikely to be economic to repair but there is significant unused space in the modern building.

As you will be aware, Stretton Ward was fully refurbished before being closed in July 2015. Why were maternity services not transferred to this unused but fully functional ward? This could have been a planned and seamless transfer to maintain this important rural service.

Our final question concerns ante and post-natal care for mothers and their babies. Is this service continuing at Ludlow Community Hospital despite the current loss of the midwifery-led unit?

There is widespread concern in Ludlow and its catchment area over the sudden closure of the maternity unit. People fear it will never reopen. We share those fears and seek your reassurance that SaTH and the community health trust are working together to ensure that midwifery-led services will return to Ludlow immediately.

Kind regards

Tracey Huffer, Richard Huffer, Andy Boddington, Vivienne Parry, Shropshire Councillors for Ludlow and Clee.

cc: Philip Dunne MP, Minister for Health

One thought on “Our letter to health executives on sudden closure of Ludlow maternity ward

  1. This divided management structure is one of the problems with the NHS, top heavy beaurocracy, increasing costs. You should have one system to work with. This old workhouse. Could it be used in any way?Demolish it and build a new AE department? Use lateral thinking. .

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