Clun Shropshire Councillor Nigel Hartin has slated the Shropshire Community Health Trust for potentially creating a 'health desert' in the South West of the County by their hurried shutting of Bishop's Castle Hospital.
Nigel said: "Bishop's Castle Hospital plays a key role in health care across a huge part of rural southwest Shropshire including my Division. If we take these hospital beds out of service during the winter months it will impact disproportionally on elderly patients and their families taking them to hospitals a long way from their communities. Also, the outpatients' services in physiotherapy, podiatry and audiology at the hospital will be sorely missed.
"What is really disturbing though is the increasing signs that the Trust is preparing to make this closure permeant. Although we have had protestations that the closure of the hospital will only be temporary, I have now heard from two sources that staff are being transferred from Bishop's Castle to Ludlow Hospital.
"We have also been told that this closure has come about because of staff shortages yet we have seen no evidence of any effort to recruit new staff. There have not been ads in local papers and no local organisation in our area has, to my knowledge, been asked to advertise vacancies
"We need a firm commitment from the Shropshire Community Health Trust that our highly valued hospital will be re-opened along with what steps they will be taking to address the shortfall in trained staff.
"On top of this, we have acknowledged poor ambulance response times across the southwest. So long waits for ambulances and reduced Hospital beds - not great for our rural residents."
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