CAMPAIGNERS fighting to retain GP services in Ludlow town centre are putting the £25 million hospital and health village on the Eco-Park at risk, according to the town’s MP Philip Dunne.

Mr Dunne says that the campaign is high risk and he does not believe that health chiefs will give final approval for the hospital and health village unless all services are located on one site.

“I quite understand the anxiety of those campaigning to keep a town centre surgery which most have been used to,” said Mr Dunne.

“But everyone needs to understand the implications of what they are seeking.

Keeping a surgery in the town centre risks losing a new hospital.”

The MP says attempts to find a suitable site for the combined hospital and GP services within the town had been unsuccessful.

He believes that combining the GP surgeries with the hospital will result in a better standard of care for patients.

“The two GP surgeries in Ludlow both operate out of buildings at the limit of their capacity and at risk of noncompliance with advancing clinical requirements and regulation,” said Mr Dunne.

He says that by bringing together the hospital and GP facilities, treatment that is currently not available will be possible.

“Co-locating the GPs with the hospital will provide the best service to local patients,” said Mr Dunne.

“Modern facilities will offer modern and dignified healthcare.

Patients will have better access to X-rays and diagnostic services.

“There will be more clinical rooms, large enough to allow professional assessment of patients, properly soundproofed for privacy and dignity, with full disabled access to all areas of the building.

“There will be more attached clinical staff, such as counsellors, physiotherapists and dieticians and space for medical students and GP registrar teaching.

“Connection to the hospital will allow easy and rapid support to the GP-led Minor Injury Unit, the GP-led inpatient wards and the midwifery unit.

“GPs with special interests will work alongside consultants to provide on-site procedures such as endoscopic examination and diagnostics and minor surgery day cases.

“Services not available in Ludlow at all will be able to be provided, including anaesthetics, gastroenterology, diabetic medicine, cardiology, dermatology, respiratory medicine, nephrology and neurology.

“There will also be improved facilities for antenatal and geriatric medicine, as well as closer co-operation with allied health professionals.”

A LONG-serving member of Ludlow Hospital League of Friends has broken ranks in the row about the future of GP services in the town.

Bill Eastwood, who has been a member of the League of Friends for 14 years, is backing the campaign to retain a GP practice in the centre of Ludlow.

“I have serious concerns about the current plans which I believe, if implemented, would be to the detriment of the present and future residents of Ludlow,” said Mr Eastwood, who lives in the town.

“The proposal to close the GP surgeries and locate them on the other side of the A49 is not popular, indeed it has triggered a strong campaign against it. “Older people have moved to the centre in order to be close to centre facilities. The town will be left with no GP practices, except on the periphery.”

He has also questioned the view that the Eco Park will be more convenient for patients from outside Ludlow and believes that alternative sites for the new hospital were not properly explored.

Mr Eastwood believes it is not too late for a re-think and that modernising the existing Ludlow Hospital site should be looked at again.

“Although to abort at this late stage might incur costs, in the long term these would be justified by the much lower cost of modernising the present site. The whole project should be revisited.”

Members of the group campaigning to retain GP services in Ludlow are planning a trial run tomorrow (Friday) when people with disabilities will assess the practicality of getting from the town to the Eco Park by public transport.