Expert Lawyers Say Patient Safety Must Be The Focus Of Decision Into Services At The Trust
By Helen MacGregor
Medical law experts representing dozens of victims of the scandal hit Mid-Staffordshire Trust say proposed plans to dissolve a number of services should only be implemented if it can be proven that patient safety will not be jeopardised.
Health Administrators have proposed to dissolve critical care, maternity and paediatric services at Stafford Hospital, but it will keep its current part-time accident and emergency department.
Trust Special Administrators (TSA), appointed by the Department of Health in April, said in their report outlining the proposals that "there is no alternative but to make significant change" at Stafford and neighbouring Cannock Chase Hospital.
The recommendations are subject to a public consultation which will begin today (August 6) running until October 1. If agreed, it would mean major emergency surgery and most trauma care, neonatal services and paediatric inpatient services - with the exception of its assessment unit, would all be moved to other hospitals in the region.
Among services which are proposed to stay at Stafford are elective surgery, adult inpatient care, as well as out-patient and diagnostic appointments, all of which will be largely unaffected by the shake-up.
Healthcare currently provided at Cannock Chase Hospital should also stay as it is, according to the administrators' recommendations.
The report's authors say that without major change "future local patient safety is at stake" pointing to the trust's small size as one reason why care at the trust in its current form cannot safely continue, long-term.
It is also proposing the trust is dissolved and the hospitals be run by neighbouring trusts, in a bid to save money.
Mandy Luckman, an Irwin Mitchell Partner and medical law expert who has been involved in litigation against the Midlands Trust since 2005, said: “It is crucial that after years of Inquiry and questioning, action is taken to address the systemic failures identified within Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
“Our clients suffered appalling care at hospitals managed by this Trust and we, along with local residents, want assurances that everything possible is being done to prevent these errors from happening again.
“We welcome the public consultation into the proposed plans to dissolve a number of services within the Trust and hope that patients, staff and local residents reach a conclusion by having patient safety at the heart of the decision making process. That way it cannot be jeopardised in the same way again.”
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