Calls over Future Fit transport provision
Calls have been made for a new subsidised bus service from south west Shropshire to Telford's Princess Royal Hospital if planned care were to be based there after the Future Fit shake-up.
Four councillors from Ludlow and Clee made the calls after the end of the Future Fit consultation, saying they supported option one but plans to centralise services placed an "unacceptable burden on rural communities".
In a joint response to the consultation, Ludlow councillors Andy Boddington, Viv Parry and Tracey Huffer, and Clee councillor Richard Huffer, said: "The concept of Community Fit has been seriously eroded during the Future Fit process.
"Not only is Future Fit proposing to centralise health resources in the two largest towns, the earlier proposals for community provision seem to have sunk without trace.
"We have no confidence that communities like Ludlow and the communities in its hinterland will be well served by the proposed health reorganisation."
"We have witnessed the closure of Ludlow Maternity Unit to live births, the centralisation of Shropdoc GPs and mental health services in Shrewsbury and Telford, and the progressive withdrawal of health facilities in south Shropshire.
"Ambulance response times are increasing. This undermines our confidence in health reorganisation across the county. It is driven by a policy of centralisation of services. It will place an unacceptable burden on rural communities whose residents will have to travel further to protect their health and wellbeing at a time when public transport is being cut back."
While they support option one – to base emergency care at Shrewsbury and planned care at Telford – the four councillors said improvements would need to be made to public transport to enable people from the south of the county to attend routine appointments in Telford.
"We do not believe that Future Fit is the best approach to promote the health and wellbeing throughout Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin," they added.
"Turning to the specific proposals in the Future Fit consultation, we have no doubt that option one is the best for Ludlow. In the very limited constraints of this consultation, we support that.
"If planned care is largely based in Telford, the CCG should subsidise a new bus service from the southwest of the county to the Princes Royal, taking in isolated settlements such as Ditton Priors."