Health chiefs will decide today on unacceptable proposal to close Ludlow’s renal unit

Update 1 December 2016

Gill George from Shropshire Defend Our NHS has reported on Facebook:

There was a fair bit of conflict today at a Board meeting of SaTH, the organisation that runs maternity services in Shropshire. They were challenged on all sorts of things…

We got a commitment that Ludlow’s renal dialysis service won’t be closed (at least for now).

Main article 1 December 2016

A guest post from Councillor Tracey Huffer.

I am truly shocked by the latest news on Ludlow Hospital. It shows just how far out of touch senior health managers are with community needs – and how desperate they are to cut costs.

This afternoon the board of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust will vote on whether to shut down dialysis services at Ludlow Community Hospital. This will save SaTH £59,000 a year but will mean that patients now treated locally

This wrong in principle. And the dialysis equipment at Ludlow Hospital was not even purchased by the NHS. It was a gift from the League of Friends of Ludlow Community Hospital. I hope the board will see sense and block this unacceptable proposal which will save peanuts.

The plan to close the renal unit at Ludlow is buried in the Financial Recovery Plan, a document to be considered by the SaTH board this afternoon. The board is being asked to approve more than 60 schemes to save money. The need for SaTH to cut its budget is urgent. It is heading for a deficit of more than £12.3 million by the end of March 2017. This is more than £6 million over and above its agreed overdraft with NHS England.

SaTH is aiming to save £4 million from staff budgets by the end of the financial year, mostly through cutting back temporary staff by 30%. The remaining £2 million will come from service delivery. The directors of the four clinical care groups[1] within SaTH are being asked to deliver immediate savings of 4.5%.

Savings item 64, the very last on the list reads: “Service Review: Renal service at Ludlow – repatriate to main sites.” The closure of renal unit would save just £59,000. I also resent the pejorative term “repatriate”. That suggests that that dialysis treatment is out of place in a market town like ours. Dialysis is essential in a town like ours because we are a long way from major hospitals and we serve a wide hinterland (as well as some tourists who can holiday here because we have a renal unit).

Closure of our dialysis facility would be horrendous. It would mean that patients would have to endure the 64-mile round trip to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital three times a week. That puts stress on patients who are ill. It will increase the strains on community transport. And withdrawal of the renal unit will undermine the future of our community hospital. It is also a kick in the teeth for the Friends of Ludlow Hospital who worked so hard to fund the unit.

I understand that Peter Corfield, chairman of the Friends, has written to SaTH challenging the plan to end dialysis in Ludlow. I hope that board members read his letter and see sense. They should not approve this damaging cut to rural medical services.

Notes

[1].  SaTH Care Groups: Unscheduled Care, Support Services Care, Women’s and Children’s Care and Scheduled Care.

One thought on “Health chiefs will decide today on unacceptable proposal to close Ludlow’s renal unit

  1. I asked recently why Shropshire NHS didn’t do the finger prick test for blood [as do many other NHS Trusts] instead of taking a blood sample which is then sent to Shrewsbury Hospital. I was told that although the pinprick cost £18 per patient and the blood sample cost £65 per patient Shropshire wouldn’t change because the nurses in the unit that tested the blood didn’t want to lose their jobs in that unit and actually involved their union in the argument. [They wouldn’t lose their jobs altogether if the pin prick was introduced they would just be transferred to other departments]. I was put back on warfarin a few months ago and happened to speak to a nurse in the blood testing unit who proudly told me that they treat 10,000 patients in Shropshire. Now I don’t know how often these 10,000 people are tested but on average I am tested fortnightly. If one takes the difference of £65 reduced to £18 making £47 and multiplies this by 10,000 we have a figure of £470,000 in savings. Maybe a lot of people are tested less often than I am so say this is £470,000 per month, multiplied by 12 we have a figure of £5,640,000. Is this really the case that Shropshire NHS are wasting over £5 1/2 million a year because of upsetting the nurses??

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