The accident and emergency department at Stafford Hospital is to close overnight due to inadequate staffing levels.
Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust has been trying to achieve satisfactory staffing levels in the department since the Healthcare Commission’s report in 2009 exposed poor standards of care.
Although the department now has adequate nursing numbers there are still three consultant vacancies and eight vacancies for middle grade doctors.
In September the Care Quality Commission warned the level of medical cover was unacceptable and found many nurses did not have sufficient training. The regulator threatened to use its legal powers to close services unless the situation improved.
At a meeting last week the trust board agreed to close the department between 10pm until 8am from 1 December for an initial period of three months.
In a statement chief executive Lyn Hill-Tout said the period would be used to recruit doctors and train nursing staff.
She added: “We have a relatively new nursing team in the emergency department, which, because of the workload and low levels of senior doctor and nursing leadership, have been unable to develop their skills as we and they would like. The temporary closure will enable us to do this with protected time for training.”