Stafford Closure Decision Due

Secretary Of State For Health Jeremy Hunt Is Set To Announce Whether Stafford Hospital Will Be Closed


Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, is set to announce whether Stafford Hospital will be closed.

Managers at the medical facility, which has been engulfed in a number of scandals over the past six years, are waiting to hear from the minister as to whether it will remain open and serve patients, or be shuttered in the near-future, reports the BBC.

Administrators assigned to the trust, which was the first foundation-graded authority to be declared bankrupt, want Mr Hunt to scrap the hospital and assign services to other hospitals in the area.

However, this will likely be an unpopular decision among locals that have campaigned for the facility to remain open.

One of the most viable plans floated to keep Stafford Hospital open involves breaking up the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust (MSNFT) and assigning the scandal-hit hospital to the North Staffordshire NHS Trust.

Monitor, which approved the plans that were made by Trust Special Administrators, added that Cannock Hospital - also currently run by MSNFT - will be transferred over to the Royal Wolverhampton Trust.

But this proposal would see services, including maternity, paediatric care and critical care, downgraded at Stafford Hospital, which might result in poorer care for local people, according to local campaigners.

Diana Smith, from Support Stafford Hospital, said: "People have been talking to different legal advisors about what action we could take but I personally hope that there will be no need.

"I hope Jeremy Hunt has listened to the sensible representations that have been made to him over the last few weeks and that he's done enough to make the suggestions more acceptable to people in Stafford."

Calum Paton, professor of health policy at the nearby Keele University, also voiced concerns over the plans approved by Monitor.

Professor Paton believes the North Staffordshire NHS Trust might not have the resources to cope with an increase in patient demand and he urged for this to be taken into consideration.

Expert Opinion
It is hugely important that all relevant patient safety issues associated with dissolving the trust are considered as this decision is made.

“Issues such as access to treatment, especially accident and emergency care, for patients in the catchment area should be a priority factor.

“The key is to ensure it is not possible for the same horrendous level of failings to take place again and that whether patients remain treated in Stafford Hospital, or if they are sent to nearby facilities instead, there is the resource, work ethic and specialist equipment in place to deal with their care needs.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner