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Ludlow hospital plan finally laid to rest
LUDLOW’S dream of a £27 million state of the art hospital and health village is officially over – shattered by Government changes to the NHS.
This is revealed by health chiefs who have failed in an attempt to find a compromise that would have salvaged something from the debacle.
The calamity has so far cost £2.6 million and this does not include compensation payable to the private sector partner in the project, which the Advertiser understands could be in the order of a further £3 million.
Members of the Shropshire Community Health Trust which meets today, Thursday, will put the final nail in the coffin of the scheme that was approved just over a year ago.
Instead of a new hospital, the trust board will be recommended to spend £160,000 to refurbish the existing East Hamlet Hospital and keep it going for up to another five years.
The report to board members says that Government changes to the health service are responsible for the project not going ahead.
“Following structural changes to the NHS, national clarification was required on contractual issues that required Department of Health involvement and this resulted in a lapse of 13 months since the original approval in May 2012,” says the report written jointly by Julie Bridgwater, chief executive of the Trust and the Director of Finance Trish Donovan.
“Between May 2012 and June 2013, a number of significant changes occurred.”
As a result of this there was a review and because of these changes to the NHS structure the hospital and health village plan was declared to be no longer viable. Earlier in the summer the Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group was asked to stump up £1.1 million a year to make the sums add up but when it refused hospital campaigners and local MP Philip Dunne said they remained hopeful.
But NHS bosses say they have looked at a range of options and while the annual deficit could be cut marginally to £800,000 this is not enough to make the project viable.
Now the community health trust is to set up a task force to look at how to make the best use of the existing hospital in the town centre.
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