LUDLOW MP Philip Dunne is watching proposals for changes to health care in Ludlow and south Shropshire but says that it is too early to jump to conclusions.

The MP says that the important thing is to provide the best care that is practicable.

“I am committed to securing quality NHS healthcare for patients in South Shropshire for the future,” said Philip Dunne.

“The NHS is facing increasing pressures. A growing and more elderly population, more expensive (though more effective) treatments and a persistent 4% increase in demand will put more strain on services in the future.

“At a national level, the Government has protected the NHS budget in order to help meet these challenges, unlike in Wales where it has been cut by Labour. But raising more money for the NHS is a short term measure not a solution to its long-term challenges. We must make every penny of NHS funding as effective as it can be.

“Locally Shropshire CCG’s Future Fit study is looking at how the healthcare system in Shropshire can address these challenges and continue to provide quality A&E and Community Services in the county.

“This process is still in its early stages. Views have been sought from nearly 100 clinicians across the county, and public consultations will offer patient participation groups and local residents the chance to have their say.

“I want to ensure this process is right for patients in Shropshire. But until we know more it is far too early to leap to the barricades. The key is to ensure we maintain clinically safe and appropriate A&E cover in the county and find ways to improve locally delivered services in our community hospitals and GP practices.

“Local residents do need to understand what these proposals involve and I encourage those interested to attend public exhibitions and meetings as these are rolled out this autumn to help shape proposals before a full public consultation begins next summer.”