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