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New hospital dream for Ludlow is now in the balance
12:00pm Friday 16th August 2013 in News
LIFE support for Ludlow’s dream of a new hospital could be switched off as soon as next week.
The board of Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is expected next Wednesday (August 21) to say it cannot stump up the £1.1 million- a-year needed to keep the project alive.
However, the League of Friends of Ludlow Hospital (LFLH) says it will fight for the £27m project to the last.
The CCG meeting, at Ludlow racecourse will see board members decide whether the group can support additional funding for the Ludlow health facility. NHS chiefs have ruled the project is unviable, just a year after agreeing to it.
Following a review, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust identified there is a £1.1 million funding gap each year and the trust is unable to progress with the project without additional financial support.
The CCG must consider the benefits of the project alongside the other services it commissions across the county.
“We must carefully consider this request, as originally it was estimated the scheme would not incur additional commissioning costs,” said Dr Karon Morton, of the CCG.
“Board members will need to agree whether this is an appropriate use of our budget, taking into consideration our other commissioning priorities. We are working closely with our local stakeholders and patients to understand any concerns they may have.
“We recognise they are waiting for a decision and have worked quickly toward making a decision as soon as possible.
“This funding will need to come from existing services, and we acknowledge that the funding can only provide a building rather than paying for patient care. We will be discussing all of these factors and hope to reach a decision.”
At its packed annual meeting, the LFLH urged the CCG to hold off any switch of f until “all other avenues” had been explored.
They asked Ludlow MP Philip Dunne to help try and find ways of making the scheme pay.
Friends chairman Peter Corfield said: “After considerable discussion, the members overwhelmingly supported a recommendation that Philip Dunne, the League of Friends, Shropshire Community Health Trust and CCG, in conjunction with local GPs, should pursue every opportunity to restore the project to viability and get on with construction without further delay.”
LHLF still believes the proposed public and private sector funding arrangement for the project represents the best option.
But interim finance director Chris Calkin and Dr Karon Morton said that the figures do not add up.
They say that the number of referrals to the hospital was over estimated and that there would be problems finding enough doctors and medical staff to run the various clinics.
The CCG’s core role is to buy services and not fund facilities and it has made it clear that funding the hospital would be at the expense of front line treatment.