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Latest News for Members - from our Chairman

Treats for Patients and Community

 Easter Weekend brought treats and Easter Cards to Ludlow Community Hospital, thanks to the League of Friends and Tesco Supermarket, Ludlow.   League Chairman, Peter Corfield, said “traditionally we have distributed Cards and Easter Eggs to our in-patients in Dinham Ward and our renal dialysis patients (who attend the unit three times a week).   This year, because of Covid restrictions our members were unable to enter the Hospital but happily the staff stepped in to make sure all patients had their treat!   We were also generously assisted by Dave Ashton, Manager of Tesco Ludlow and his staff with the contribution of the Easter Eggs.   It was a wonderful gesture and yet another example of their generous support for the Hospital and other local charities”.

 The League also unveiled a number of community health projects which they will support financially.   Two additional public access defibrillators will be purchased by The League and installed at St Peter’s Church Ludlow and the Ludlow Methodist Church by Ludlow Defib 4 you, who will also maintain the total of 8 defibrillators provided by The League (these are already located at The Mascall Centre, Homecare, Rockspring, Tesco, Assembly Rooms and Vision Homes).   The League will fund replacement batteries, electrodes and readikits of consumables for the next few years, whilst familiarization training courses will continue to be provided by ludlowdefib4you.   The importance of Public Access Defibrillators cannot be too strongly stressed, as statistically it has been demonstrated that every minute without CPR or a defibrillator shows that chances of survival can decrease by up to 10%.   Further details from the secretary, ludlowdefib4you@btinternet.com .

The League has also underwritten the costs of repair and refurbishment to two benches sited opposite to the New Road entrance to Ludlow Hospital.   One of the benches will commemorate the fundraising support for the hospital by the late Cyril Martin, of Clee Hill, over 25 years ago.  “Cyril used to organize walks and tours around the Clee Hill and Ludlow districts to raise significant funds for patient comforts and improvements to the facilities at the hospital.   The bench will be fully restored, courtesy of Graeme Perks and Ludlow War Memorial Committee and a suitable commemorative plaque will also be provided” added Peter.

 The League exists to provide patient comforts and items of clinical equipment which will contribute to improved in-patient and clinic services offering care closer to home.   In recent years over £660,000 has been spent by The League on items ranging from a new x-ray facility, ultrasound scanning, physiotherapy equipment, a renal dialysis unit, beds and ward furniture – and even to toys for youngsters attending the minor injuries Unit!

 Contacts:  Peter Corfield, Chairman, League of Friends 01584 318468

Penelope Bridstrup, Secretary,  ludlowdefib4you@btinternet.com

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COVID-19 VACCINATIONS - SOUTH WEST SHROPSHIRE

 Following a request by The League for the programme for Covid vaccination in Ludlow and SW Shropshire to be clarified, we have received the following from the South West Shropshire Primary Care Network:

 “The Covid-19 vaccination  programme in South West Shropshire is being organised and co-ordinated through the South West Shropshire Primary Care Network which is made up of 6 local GP Practices.   The first delivery of vaccine to the PCN is due to be received during the week commencing 25th January and in anticipation of this Station Drive Surgery Ludlow started to book appointments for patients.   This was on the basis that they may need to be rearranged, if the vaccine is not delivered in time.   As it happens the delivery will not be received until the second half of that week and an exact delivery date is yet to be confirmed meaning that appointments will need to be re-arranged.

 The vaccine will be delivered to one Practice and then distributed to the other 5 practices giving each Practice access to the vaccine at the same time.   Each Practice is then free to make their own arrangements to vaccinate their patients."

 Peter Corfield, Chairman, 19th January 2021

Ends

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The Executive Committee of the League of Friends of Ludlow
Community Hospital regretfully notify our members that

The AGM meeting due to be held
on 11 November 2020 was CANCELLED

Chairman Peter Corfield reiterated todayIt is only fair to avoid
exposing our members, some of whom are in the “at risk”
categories, to the possibility of contact with Covid-19, however
slight the chance. The reduction in day to day involvement by
the League in hospital services, the lack of information from the
Shropshire Community Health Trust (Shropcom) about any
timescale for the re-introduction of local outpatient clinics, and
the continuing doubts surrounding Future Fit and the future of
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals provide little justification for
a formal meeting.

As previously agreed, our
750 members were informed by Newsletter”. 

The League has campaigned ceaselessly since 2005 for retention
and improvement of services at Ludlow Hospital and sees the
provision of care closer to home and a closer relationship
between the local NHS and Social Care industry as absolute
priority in post pandemic southwest Shropshire.

Ends
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PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR THE LATEST LEAGUE NEWSLETTERS and  MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION FORM

Membership of the League Of Friends Of Ludlow Hospital  can be paid for by cheque or by standing order. Subscriptions eligible for gift aid providing you are a UK tax payer.  Members receive a League Newsletter each quarter which gives details of any developments in local healthcare or other issues that affect Ludlow Community Hospital. From time to time, should the Shropshire health commissioners or providers deem it necessary to conduct public consultation on the services they offer, League members will be briefed and their views represented by the League to the appropriate authority.  There is no commitment - but membership does offer the opportunity for you to be informed and to have your say! 

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LUDLOW COMMUNITY HOSPITAL LEAGUE OF FRIENDS

Newsletter Issue 54 – October 2020

(Compiled by Peter Corfield (01584 318468))

 A new Abnormal!

Many years ago, some worthy politician or other coined the phrase “Constant change is here to stay” little realizing that he was predicting the continuing effects of Covid-19 on the whole world!  We have been unable to meet for our AGM or routine quarterly updates, and it seems quite probable that, for safety’s sake, we should accept that this is unlikely to change until there is a clear and sustained reduction or elimination of the waves of cross contamination and infection that demand our attention at the moment.   So, we must accept that the AGM, promised for next month, cannot take place as most of our members who like to attend are in the most at-risk categories.   Hence, the change in format of this Newsletter so that your Trustees can present a precis of the Trustees Annual Report and extracts from the Financial Statements which would normally be presented at the AGM.   Although more costly to produce and post, this will ensure that all our members are kept up to date and safe!

It is not just the business of The League that has been affected – our active volunteers who operate the Tea and Coffee rounds for in-patients, and those who assist on the Trolley Shop, have been unable to help ease the burden of the Ward and Hospital Staff.   Similarly, many hundreds of out-patients have been denied access to local clinics as clinical consultants and staff were recalled to their home bases and, indeed, are still there.   Happily, the Minor Injuries Unit and X-ray unit have operated at a significantly higher rate, even if some patients have had to remain in their vehicles until they can be seen.   The Dialysis Unit continues to operate six days a week, at full capacity, and the hospital Café has been providing a take-out service to their regular daily customers – brilliant!   More on the Hospital facilities later!

BISYOC!

No – it’s not an expletive!   Many of you will remember the many annual concerts presented by the young musicians from all parts of the World who gathered every year at Moor Park School for a summer school and performed magnificently in St Laurence’s Ludlow to packed houses.   The proceeds, for the benefit of The League, enabled us to purchase many items of equipment such as syringe drivers, 24-hour heart monitors, profiling mattresses, items for maternity and minor injuries over a good number of years.   Unfortunately, BISYOC being EU funded is now based entirely in Europe and will not be returning to Ludlow.   We built a close relationship with them over the years and with Peter, Jenny and Julian Gibbons, the founder members of BISYOC.   We wish them well!   Peter and Jenny have expressed their thanks for the years of co-operation which have yielded such common benefits and have included the new BISYOC Website address https://bisyoc.eu which contains more details and their Newsletter.

Hospital equipment purchases

Since the onset of Covid-19 all forward planning at the Hospital has been suspended – hence our contribution to purchasing equipment etc is significantly lower than last year (£12,683 for a bladder scanner, physiotherapy equipment and a second My Dementia memory stimulus set compared with £175,195 for the new x-ray equipment last year).   Christmas presents will still be distributed this year as well as Easter Eggs at the appropriate time!

News from Ludlow Hospital

As many of you will have seen, many routine NHS services had to be shelved to enable the front-line hospitals to concentrate on the Covid-19 tsunami which engulfed the UK in March.   This meant that many of our local clinic services were suspended and those that survived were severely affected by the social distancing and infection control measures.   It is useful to look at the current and probable situation at Ludlow Community Hospital now that some less urgent conditions are once again being treated.

Minor Injuries Unit.   The MIU is open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.   Although the doors are closed, patients are asked to press the bell push and wait for a member of staff.   Patients can call the unit prior to attending on 01584 874297.   Staff at the MIU treat patients of all ages for bites, cuts, lacerations, foreign bodies in eyes, nose and ears, assessment of fractures, minor burns and scalds, minor head injuries (with no loss of consciousness), sprains, bruises and wound infections.   The number of patients is significantly higher since the onset of Covid.

X-ray.   The x-ray unit is open from 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday to accept GP referrals and urgent walk-in patients in support of MIU.   Although there are longer than normal spacing times between patients for cleaning and sanitizing equipment, there are currently no waiting lists.   The x-ray unit has the most up-to-date equipment (funded by The League) and is currently assisting SaTH to address the waiting lists for x-rays at the acute hospitals.

Ultrasound.   The service is operating at a reduced capacity due to extensive sanitizing and increased spacing between patients.   The service is available to meet GP and Consultant referrals, but as yet is not used by SaTH Maternity service or their Consultants.

Phlebotomy/transfusion services.   IV therapy is available subject to GP referral or DAART using Intravenous therapy pathway.

Orthopaedic, Ophthalmic and Audiology Clinics.   These clinics are re-introduced from the end of October.

Physiotherapy Unit.   Increasing “face-to-face” activities.

We have been unable to establish whether there are any clinics that will not return to the hospital and we hope that, subject to the progression of the latest Covid attack, the Community Health NHS Trust will share any proposals with us.   As ever, always check with your GP to ensure that you can take advantage of local clinics!!!

What about future NHS Developments?

When the case for a new build health facility at Ludlow was approved, a key element in 2012 was that “the existing buildings were no longer fit for purpose and at best had a physical life of 5 years”.   The Health and Social Care bill of 2012 then altered the approach to treating patients, assuming there would be more emphasis on care at home or in residential care facilities and this was seized upon as a valid reason to cancel a much needed  modernization of the NHS real estate in South Shropshire.   Indeed, even our unfit buildings with limited life were gifted to NHS Property Services who doubtless realized the value of the estate should it yield an opportunity for commercial re-development.   In the interim NHS PS offered an awfully expensive 10-year lease on the Maternity Unit, which Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals (SaTH) instantly rejected.   We are now almost 10 years further on in deteriorating properties surrounded by scaffolding and looking like what it is – an 1820s workhouse!

Why am I beefing on about this, still?   Because there seems little likelihood of our Community services surviving at all after another 5 or 10 years.   Even those who, in September 2013, were tripping over each other to vote against need and progress are now saying (privately, of course) that they wished we had decent fit-for-purpose buildings to meet our current healthcare needs!   At this time, with immense amounts of money being hurled at measures to help us survive the economic and physical consequences of Corona Virus, who cares?

The great hope, which has been brewing since 2012, is the exercise in delay called Future Fit, or Sustainable Transformation Plan, or whatever it may be called next week!   These “plans” are devilishly difficult to understand and are meaningless to inhabitants of rural communities, such as ours, as they concentrate in the main on the future of the distant Acute Hospitals and the immense investment necessary to correct mistakes made in the 1980s.

In short, we should all care, perhaps now even more than we did in 2005/6 when the NHS solution was to sell off Ludlow Hospital to provide ‘extra care’ housing!   We should all have our say in what we as local communities need, which is a realistic approach to the provision of local services, based on our Hospital, providing the range of services that will reduce the number of patients who have to trek 40 or 50 miles for a simple follow up consultation, travel to Telford for a routine ante-natal scan, or visit one hospital for a visual field test and another to discuss the test with a Consultant.   We as individuals are funding the present poor service either by putting fuel in our cars, catching trains and buses at inflated cost, when often with a little forethought and planning the NHS could make this much more user-friendly.

We have, for years, offered to pilot and finance high quality IT and Video links between Ludlow Hospital outpatients and appropriate specialists and Consultants at SaTH, including A&E.   We have proposed equipment to provide automated blood analysis, and equipping MIU with portable ultrasound equipment, all designed to provide a more complete and comprehensive minor injuries and outpatient facility to save patients, many of them elderly or infirm and without private cars, the miserable journeys to Shrewsbury or Telford.   Thank goodness someone listened when we proposed the Dialysis Unit, which has gone from strength to strength

When will the Shropshire NHS governing bodies cease their navel gazing and come to terms with reality?    The Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Sustainability Transformation Plan states that “we want to ensure the approximately 470,000 people living in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin understand the proposed changes and are involved in designing new services.   That is crucial to their success.   We are committed to listening to local people and learning from feedback.”  Sounds like a good starting point – but that was published four years ago which leads one to conclude that if all sub-acute NHS formations were joined together they still would not reach a conclusion!

 Tailpiece

 A great ‘thank you’ to all our members who promptly renew their membership each year and for the incredible number who top up their subscriptions with donations large and small.  It makes the work of your Trustees a joy knowing that we have such support.

On a final, and sad note, we record the passing in Ludlow Hospital of Howard Cheese, a staunch supporter and regular feature at our quarterly meetings,   A key player in the Ludlow Museum, his encyclopaedic knowledge of local history will be a loss to Ludlow.

And so to the financial precis that we would otherwise have presented at the AGM

LUDLOW COMMUNITY HOSPITAL

LEAGUE OF FRIENDS

Charity Commission 513978

Financial Period ended 31 March 2020

 RECEIPTS:                                                    PAYMENTS: 

Subscriptions               £2,209                         Stationery & Printing    £1,033

Donations                    £16,377                        Hospital purchases        £12,683

Gifts in memory           £2,588                         Patient comforts           £3,269

Bank interest                £2,946                         Audit fees, insurance    £1,808

Total receipts              £24,120 (A)                   Total Payments           £18,793(B)

                                    Net Receipts (A – B)    £5,327

                                    Balances b/f                 £495,427

                                    Total funds                     £500,754

 

        ................................      ENDS     ---------------------------------------------------------

NEWSLETTER 53

Notices and updates

Since the tragic loss of our excellent Treasurer, Linda Binns, we have been anxious to appoint a successor to manage our book-keeping in conjunction with a local Accountancy practice.   The role is primarily that of book-keeper using an appropriate computer based programme.   Anyone interested in considering this home-based task, for which training and equipment will be provided should first contact Peter Corfield on 01584 318468.

The proposals for purchasing new chairs for the day room on Dinham Ward and consideration of an appropriate space to create overnight accommodation for patients’ relatives, together with any other requests for funding, will be considered once the role of the Hospital returns to normal (whenever that may be!!).

 Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 regulations,  the 2020 Annual Bed Push has been CANCELLED.  Currently there are no plans for further fundraising events at this time.

 FULL NEWSLETTER -  ISSUE 53 - June 2020

Compiled by Peter Corfield   (01584 318468)

In Newsletter Issue 52 in January I unwittingly wished everyone a “Happy New Year”, unaware of the tsunami that was fast approaching - namely the pandemic Corvid-19.   Astonishingly it seems more than likely that it had already arrived by Christmas, albeit unrecognised, and many people succumbed to “’flu” which, in retrospect, showed many of the symptoms now associated with Corona virus.   As the world awoke to the enormity of the threat, in Britain there was the realisation that preparedness for the event could have been more robust.

However the dedication and application by the front line staff of the NHS became, and still is, inspirational.   There is no doubt that despite limited facilities, years of downsizing, understaffing and underfunding, every individual gave of their best in the face of immense personal risk.   The League has always admired and supported our nurses, doctors, clinicians and support staff and we thank all who have displayed the very best in caring for patients stricken by this hideous virus.  We must acknowledge too the bravery of carers whether in Care Homes, as Care providers, as District Nurses or Social Care Staff who stepped into the high risk areas and cared so comprehensively for our senior and vulnerable citizens.

Thank you all, thank you to the sewing circles, to the volunteer groups and the countless good souls who continue to make lock-down bearable!

Activities within Ludlow Hospital appear to have altered significantly as the pandemic took effect in UK.   Measures were taken to reduce the number of in-patients in order to meet the anticipated need to accept patients from the acute hospitals at Shrewsbury, Telford and Hereford initially, we were advised, for non-Covid cases.   As a precaution, The League was asked to suspend all voluntary activities within the Hospital – tea, coffee and trolley shop services ceased in March.   We have since gathered that a significant number of Covid-19 cases have been treated at Ludlow but the Community Trust has not confirmed this officially.

The Minor Injuries Unit continues to function as does X-ray, although patients are subjected to temperature and other checks and must remain outside the Unit until they can be seen by a clinician.   It was disappointing to see that Whitchurch and Bridgnorth MIUs were temporarily upgraded to Urgent Care Centre status in preference to Ludlow.   All outpatients’ clinics have been halted at Ludlow as the various Consultants were required to withdraw to their parent hospital bases.  The Maternity Unit continues to function, we believe, and the Renal Dialysis Unit is operating six days a week.  We are seeking an assurance that the outpatients clinics, particularly those that we have equipped with diagnostic or remedial equipment, return to Ludlow Hospital as soon as possible to enable care to be delivered closer to home.  The only certain aspect of this is the uncertainty of the future.

How can we plan for the New Normal?

The continuing high cost of coping with Covid-19, including provision of the Nightingale facilities and other related capital investments makes it unlikely that we will see, in Ludlow, any benefit from the stalled FutureFit proposals.   It is clear that we will, however, be required to soldier on with buildings that were beginning to collapse in 1839 and are today surrounded by scaffolding advertising 3rd world accommodation.   It is a criminal folly that Ludlow Hospital should be forced to pay NHS Property Services a punitive rent of some £700,000 pa, a penalty which directly affects every cost of providing a service locally.

It is also highly regrettable that the lofty aims of the Health and Social Care Bill introduced in 2012 (and which caused the cancellation of the Ludlow new build project) should have resulted in the Care Industry becoming the poor relation when Corvid struck.   For a number of years we have discussed options to aid the transition of patients from acute hospital to Community Hospital to care home or care at home – but there is a singular lack of foresight or imagination from Trusts or Commissioners.   It is our firm belief that care closer to home is the key and this should be provided by properly equipped, staffed and designed hubs based on Community Hospitals, such as Ludlow.   One day someone will listen!

 There is scope and need for a closer relationship between the NHS and Social Care, including better training and career paths within the care industry, common supply and logistics facilities.   Now is the time to learn lessons from this crisis based on recent bitter experiences.

Ends ............................

Previous newsletter  ........  see below

Newsletter Issue 52 – January 2020     Compiled by Peter Corfield

We greet 2020 with the sixth new government since we embarked upon the quest to Save Ludlow Hospital in early 2005!   It is very tempting to summarise what has been achieved by those in authority in the past 15 years, but unfortunately that would merely be a catalogue of missed opportunities, disregard of the needs of local rural communities, expensive mistakes, under-funding, failed initiatives and cancelled projects.

Despite warnings from Town and Parish Councils, clinicians and health support groups, such as Leagues of Friends, the historical and frenzied closure of Cottage Hospitals, Mental Health facilities and non-acute hospital beds has led inexorably to the current appalling state of many aspects of the much valued NHS across the UK.   Recent local experiences have revealed significant flaws in the once revered Shropdoc out of hours service and the Ambulance Service does not escape criticism either (over 2 hours response to a 91 year old who had suffered a fall, broken hip and broken ribs lying face down in agony unable to take essential pain relief).   Someone, somewhere is looking at the problems through the wrong end of the telescope!

 So what have we done about it?

 Our League still maintains that there is an undeniable case to support Care Closer to Home, based where still possible on Community Hospitals.   To this end we have, since 2006, invested heavily in improving facilities at Ludlow Hospital ranging from buying new beds, mattresses, ward furniture, day room furniture, new televisions, a relatives’ room, nurse call system, an entire renal dialysis facility to treat up to five patients simultaneously, a new x-ray system, ultrasound scanning, ophthalmic scanning and diagnostic equipment, audio testing booth, retinopathy camera system, physiotherapy equipment and equipment for the minor injuries unit.   In addition we have funded the provision of 9 public access defibrillators in Ludlow, supported Ludlow Assembly Rooms film programmes for patients with learning difficulties and now have equipment in Dinham Ward to assist patients suffering from memory loss or dementia.

 Despite our approaches over the past 3 years to Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals for them to use our ultrasound equipment for routine scanning, Ludlow area mums-to-be still have to trek to Telford – more “wrong end of the telescope”.   It is difficult to believe – especially when the Chairman of the local Clinical Commissioning Group advised us two years ago to “make sure any equipment we bought had wheels on it” – clearly he has no telescope at all!

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