IT is being claimed that an injection of more than £300 million will transform NHS care in Ludlow and south Shropshire.

However, concerns have been raised that the money will be used to centralise services in the north of the county.

Ludlow MP Philip Dunne, a former Health Minister, expressed his delight as the government green light over £300m investment in the NHS in Shropshire.

The government has backed NHS plans and approved the funding case which would see patients in Shrewsbury and Telford benefit from a new Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit which will be 50 per cent larger than the current Accident and Emergency with 32 more hospital beds and a new Cancer Centre in Telford.

Mr Dunne outlined his support for local NHS Shropshire plans and publicly called upon the Chancellor and Secretary of State to back these proposals earlier this month.

“I am delighted the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Health & Social Care have recognised Shropshire’s case, which I articulated ahead of the Spring Statement, that the case for improving services in Shropshire should be a top priority for NHS England,” said Mr Dunne.

“We have secured the commitment to back the NHS in Shropshire to build state of the art acute care and improve care in the community, fit for the future.

“The £312m funding represents the largest investment in healthcare in the UK by the NHS so far this year, and is the biggest public sector investment in healthcare in Shropshire ever.

“It will help transform the way healthcare is provided in the county, to resolve some of the previously intractable problems which held back service improvement and risked more services leaving the county.

However, concern remains about the future of locally based health services including Ludlow Hospital and the community hospital in Bishops Castle.

There are also serious concerns about the maternity unit at Ludlow Hospital that has been the subject of a number of ‘temporary closures.’

“This is great news and so overdue. It will allow the county’s NHS services to be modernised,” said Tracey Huffer, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow East and a nurse at a Ludlow GP practice.

“But this money should not be used as an excuse to centralise services in Shrewsbury and Telford at the expense of rural services and community hospitals.

“We must remember that this is capital funding. The assumption behind the grant is that modernisation of buildings and services will reduce day-to-day costs.

“That money can then be used to fund services in the community.