Ludlow MP speaks over community health services
Former health minister and Ludlow MP Philip Dunne has spoken out about who he believes should take over the running of Shropshire's community health services.
Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust is expected to be acquired by another organisation this year.
Two trusts are in the frame – Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) and South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (SSSFT).
Mr Dunne said: "As I am no longer a health minister, I can now confirm publicly that I believe the best solution would be for some activities of ShropCom such as children’s psychology to go to SSSFT, and responsibility for the community hospitals, community nursing, and most other services in the community should go to SaTH.
"SaTH has a vested interest in working with local GPs and others delivering primary care in south Shropshire to ensure high quality care for local people in the community, helping reduce pressure on beds in our acute hospitals.
"Such a move would provide a confidence boost to help sustain the future for Bridgnorth Community Hospital."
He said the recent significant investment in upgrading x-ray facilities within Bridgnorth Community Hospital was a welcome vote of confidence in the future and will benefit patients.
The process to find a new partner to run the trust's services has been delayed.
The process is being led by NHS Improvement, but the regulator has now asked for more time to evaluate the submissions made by the two organisations on the shortlist.
Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust was formed after the merger of Shropshire County Primary Care Trust and Telford and Wrekin Primary Care Trust in 2011.
It provides a range of community-based health services for adults and children in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, and some services to people in surrounding areas.
Its services range from district nursing and health visiting, to physiotherapy and specialist community clinics.
Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust also runs community hospitals in Bishop’s Castle, Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Whitchurch.
Trust board members unanimously voted to support the proposal to merge with a bigger health provider at a meeting in 2016.
NHS Improvement says it is a management reorganisation so will not impact on the way current services are delivered.