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Emergency department to close as part of £245m local savings plan

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An accident and emergency department will close in Staffordshire along with 100 community hospital beds, according to the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent sustainability and transformation plan.

The STP, the last one in England to be published, has set out changes to the delivery of healthcare in the county, driven by a need to close a deficit gap by 2020-21 of more than £1bn if no action was taken. The solutions outlined in the STP will deliver £245m of savings.

The planned changes include ambitious reductions in non-elective activity, including a 30% reduction in A&E attendances and a 20% reduction in A&E admissions. This will involve the closure of one of the three emergency departments in the county.

While no formal decisions have been made, several sources close to the plan told Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal that the part-time A&E at Stafford hospital was the most likely to close and be replaced with a 24-hour urgent care centre.

The STP document said: “Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent has been living beyond its financial means for a number of years and… has not been able to demonstrate significant improvements in aspects of health and care outcomes.

It said services at the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust cost £100m more than its annual income and the challenge facing social care was “equally stark”.

The financial challenge facing the county is in spite of significant non-recurrent funding from the Department of Health and NHS England totalling £250m after the dissolution of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. This comes to an end in 2017.

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