CAMPAIGNERS are claiming that the cost of beds at Ludlow Hospital is being distorted.

The campaign to save the hospital believes that it is not being judged on a level playing field with similar hospitals in other parts of Shropshire.

This dates back to the time when it had been planned to open a new hospital and health village at the Eco Park.

At that time the existing hospital was transferred to the property arm of the NHS that is now leasing it back.

“Ludlow Hospital beds are too expensive - that seems to be the line from Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group as they push forward the review into community hospital beds and Minor Injuries Units,” said Gill George of the campaign group.

“From the figures, Ludlow beds are more expensive than other community hospitals. Why? Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group worked with Shropshire Community Trust to slash the number of beds from 40 to 24 back in 2015.

“Now they’re working out bed cost by taking the total cost of the hospital and dividing it by the number of beds – so Ludlow beds become more expensive at a stroke.

“Back in 2013, health bosses gave away our hospital by mistake, handing it over to PropCo because they decided it was ‘surplus to requirements’! PropCo won’t give it back – so money that should be spent on our healthcare is paid in rent to PropCo instead.”

She said this distorted the figures for Ludlow.

“Put it all together, and Ludlow beds go from being by a long way the cheapest to the most expensive of the community hospital beds,” added Ms George.

“Is it right that people in Ludlow and south west Shropshire are punished because health bosses are idiots? No. It’s time they sorted out the mess they’ve made – and it’s time they put patient care first.”

Tim Gill, Mayor of Ludlow, also expressed concern at the way that the cost of beds at Ludlow Hospital is calculated when he spoke at a packed public meeting in the town.

He said that when the new £27 million plan for a hospital and heath village at the Eco park was abandoned at the eleventh hour the hospital should have been returned by the part of the NHS that manages land and property that is no longer required.

At one time it had been intended that the land at the existing hospital would be sold off for housing as it has a high value, being located in the centre of the town where homes are needed.