Campaigners fighting to save a scandal-hit hospital will learn administrators’ recommendations about the future of Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.
In April the trust became the first ever foundation trust to be put into administration.
Two special administrators were appointed to produce a plan for the sustainable ”reorganisation” of future services.
Stafford Hospital was at the centre of a major public inquiry after it was found that poor care could have led to the deaths of hundreds of patients as a result of maltreatment and neglect.
The inquiry highlighted the “appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people” at the trust and probes into the scandal revealed that many patients were left lying in their own urine and excrement for days, forced to drink water from vases or given the wrong medication.
But even after the publication of the damning public inquiry report, thousands of local residents joined a campaign calling for services to be retained at the trust.
Maurice Blisson, spokesman for the Support Stafford Hospital campaign, said: “We hope that the hospital will be saved and that nothing will be changed.
“But we have got to be pragmatic and realise that there is money involved and therefore it is quite likely that they will come up with a compromise that might lose us some facilities which would be upsetting.
“In particular we want to save the A&E unit - which has already been reduced to day time opening hours - and we want to preserve the maternity and paediatric services.”
He said campaigners were “fearful” that the trust could be merged with surrounding organisations - which would mean patients and visitors would have to travel between 20 and 25 miles to get to the nearest hospital.
The special administrators, clinician Dr Hugo Mascie-Taylor and Alan Bloom of Ernst and Young, will publish their recommendations about the future of the trust’s two hospitals - Stafford Hospital and Cannock Chase Hospital - on July 31.
Their plan will be subject to a public consultation which will close on October 1.
The trust was placed into administration after independent review, conducted on behalf of health regulator Monitor, concluded that the organisation was “neither clinically nor financially sustainable” in its current form.
The same experts suggested the hospitals run by the trust should be downgraded to make it sustainable.
The trust should retain two smaller operations at Stafford Hospital and Cannock Chase Hospital, the Contingency Planning Team (CPT) said. But ”serious care” and a number of services, including specialist surgical patients, paediatric inpatients and maternity services, should be provided at neighbouring trusts.
Under the plans devised by the CPT, one in five patients currently treated at the trust would be sent to nearby hospitals.
Dr Mascie-Taylor was also head of the CPT’s clinical advisory group. So some of the plans developed by the CPT could be similar to those developed by Dr Mascie-Taylor and Mr Bloom.
Finances at the trust, which is deemed to be one of the smallest in the country, have a bleak outlook. Last year the Department of Health was forced to give the trust a £20m boost to maintain services for patients.
Monitor has previously said that Mid Staffordshire ”is, or is likely to become, unable to pay its debts”.
Are you able to Speak out Safely?
Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS