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Hunt confirms break-up of Mid Staffs

The health secretary today announced that Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust would be dissolved in line with the recommendation of the trust’s special administrators.

The trust’s Stafford Hospital will be run by University Hospitals of North Staffordshire NHS Trust and Cannock Chase Hospital will be run by the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust.

However, in a written statement, Jeremy Hunt asked NHS England to identify whether consultant-led maternity services could continue at Stafford Hospital. The administrators recommended that the trust’s maternity unit should become midwife-led.

Mr Hunt said: “I am asking NHS England to identify whether consultant-led obstetrics could be sustained at Mid Staffs in a safe way in the future. In doing this, NHS England will work with local commissioners as part of their wider review of the local health economy.”

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt

A consultant-led maternity unit at Stafford Hospital would require paediatricians to look after the most seriously ill babies. This would mean that paediatric inpatient facilities are required - a service that the administrators recommended should be decommissioned.

Local campaigners have pledged to raise a legal challenge against the proposals.  

In December, the administrators recommended that  the should be dissolved because it was “clinically unsustainable”.

An emergency department with reduced opening hours will continue at Stafford Hospital.

Consultant-led obstetrics and inpatient paediatric services will move to University Hospitals of North Staffordshire Trust, although Stafford Hospital will retain a paediatric assessment unit.

Mr Hunt said: “Today’s announcement secures a first-rate offer for local patients – something they were denied for too long.”

He added: “Without over £20m in subsidy funding from the Department of Health in 2012 and 2013, the trust would have been unable to pay its staff and suppliers.

“At the same time, a number of services are being operated with consultant numbers below royal college guidelines, and the trust has experienced ongoing challenges in recruiting and retaining staff. Patients deserve high quality services, which are clinically sustainable.”

He said that under the new model “approximately 90%” of the patients who go to Stafford and Cannock Hospitals would continue to go there.

The proposed model “can be a financially sustainable one” with funding from NHS England and further savings delivered by commissioners, Mr Hunt said.

Mr Hunt said it was “vital that this structural change is made as soon as possible to stabilise local health services.”

Dr Clive Peedell,co-leader of the National Health Action Party, described Mr Hunt’s decision as “unfortunately predictable”. He said: “One of the key reasons why this is happening is lack of funding of the hospital.”

Christina McAnea, head of health for Unison, added: “It is bitterly disappointing for the local community who have campaigned for local services and have rallied behind the hospital as well as for staff who have worked hard to turn the Trust around. 


Christina McAnea

“The facts show that patient care has improved massively and the staff survey released only yesterday, showed that 73% would now be happy with the standard of care at the hospital if a friend or relative needed treatment – higher than the 65% national average.”


Readers' comments (4)

  • tinkerbell

    Dr Clive Peedell,co-leader of the National Health Action Party, described Mr Hunt’s decision as “unfortunately predictable”. He said: “One of the key reasons why this is happening is lack of funding of the hospital.”


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  • tinkerbell

    As early as next week, health secretary Jeremy Hunt will try to force plans through parliament which will give him a new power to close any hospital in England - even if local patients and doctors are totally against it. [1] If the law passes, no hospital is safe.

    So far, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have kept their distance from the proposals, even though ultimately the buck stops with them. Why? Because elections are won and lost on the NHS. The last thing they want is to be personally associated with local hospitals closing.

    So let’s associate this plan with them. If hundreds of thousands of people sign a petition asking them to scrap it, they could decide that the political pain of pushing this through isn’t worth it. Please add your name to the petition now:

    Dear David Cameron and Nick Clegg,

    Our NHS is precious - please drop the Hospital Closure Clause from the Care Bill.

    No government should have the power to close any hospital without listening to local people. It’s important that these decisions aren’t made against the wishes of the local community, patients, and experts like doctors and nurses.

    Hospitals are there for us when we most need them. Please don’t be the government that takes them away.

    This wouldn’t be the first time Jeremy Hunt’s plans are stopped through people power. Twice last year local people and 38 Degrees members successfully defeated him in the courts over his plans to close services at Lewisham Hospital. [2] And today it’s still open for business, saving lives and delivering babies.

    When governments lose court cases, they shouldn’t just change the law. And after losing twice, that’s exactly what Hunt’s trying to do.

    Over the weekend, over 150,000 members of 38 Degrees voted to throw the kitchen sink at stopping this law. [3] Together, we can convince David Cameron and Nick Clegg to step in and stop the law that could close hospitals everywhere against the wishes of doctors, patients and the public.

    Please SIGN THE PETITION at 38 degrees

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  • re above from tinkerbell

    totally agree and petition duly signed

    these tories are hell bent on privatising our nhs and they must be stopped

    I ask all people who work in the NHS if you want it around in years to come then vote these idiots out....

    if you want your hospital run by the likes of serco etc, which will run it into the ground if they carnt make a profit!! then vote tory...on your head be it

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  • Anonymous | 27-Feb-2014 9:57 am

    Which party was it that started the ball rolling by with private companies bidding for the NHS? I'll give you a clue: it wasn't the Tories or the liberals.

    All large government contracts have to be put out to tender due to EU anti-competition laws - Treaty of Rome et al - so until we get out of all that European nonsense, it won't matter which party or parties form the next government.

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