A KEY consultation on the future shape of health services in Ludlow and south Shropshire will not start until after the general election next year.

Formal consultation on the Future Fit programme to improve hospital and community services will begin after the general election next year scheduled for May 2015

The decision was taken when the clinically-led Future Fit Board, representing a coalition of leading healthcare organisations, met this afternoon.

Consultation had originally been planned to start in January 2015. However a number of considerations have led to today’s decision to put this back until summer next year.

This is because rules mean that the consultation would have to stop between the end of next March and the poll.

“The decision to delay consultation until summer next year does not mean that patients and members of the public are going to be frozen out of the Future Fit process for 12 months,” said Dr Caron Morton, a former Ludlow GP and the accountable officer for the Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

“Our ambition is to create excellent clinical services where patients understand clearly when and where they can get the most appropriate treatment. This is not something they have at the moment, and we cannot design the best services for patients without their direct input.

“There is an active engagement programme that will help shape the proposals that will eventually go out to consultation.”

More information can be found on the NHS FutureFit website