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Hunt due to rule on final fate of Mid Staffs

The health secretary is set to announce his decision on whether the scandal-hit Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust should be dissolved.

Jeremy Hunt has the final say on plans to dissolve the trust and move key services to neighbouring hospitals.

In January, the health watchdog, Monitor, approved plans drawn up by administrators to downgrade some services at Stafford Hospital, despite opposition from local campaigners.

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt

Mid Staffordshire was the focus of one of the biggest scandals in the history of the NHS when hundreds more people died than would normally be expected.

The Francis Inquiry last year highlighted the “appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people”, with some patients left lying in their own faeces for days, forced to drink water from vases or given the wrong medication.

Mid Stafford hospital Exterior

Stafford Hospital

That followed a 2009 investigation by the Healthcare Commission which found between 400 and 1,200 more people died at Stafford Hospital than would have been expected.

In December, trust special administrators said the overall trust was “unsustainable” and that without changes Mid Staffordshire would face annual debts of more than £40m by 2017.

It said maternity services at Stafford Hospital should be downgraded rather than closed as originally planned.

A new midwife-led maternity unit will be created at the hospital under the changes, but consultant-led services for more difficult births will be dealt with at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.

Cannock Chase hospital

Cannock Chase Hospital

Overall control of Stafford Hospital is expected to go to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire while Cannock Hospital will be run by Royal Wolverhampton Trust.

Paediatric assessment will still take place at Stafford Hospital by specialist staff, in conjunction with A&E, and critical patients will be allowed to stay overnight in Stafford as long as the appropriate staff are on duty.

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