THE Health Secretary's decision to dissolve the Mid Staffs Trust and put Stafford and Cannock hospitals together with the Stoke and Wolverhampton Trusts respectively was as expected, writes Jeremy Lefroy, MP for Stafford.
Both hospitals should have strong futures as part of major organisations.
Stafford and Cannock will continue as now to provide most services locally. There will be a review into whether consultant-led maternity services can continue at Stafford (as opposed to the proposed midwife-led unit).
A 14 hour/day A&E will stay, although serious emergency surgery will eventually be done at Stoke or Wolverhampton.
Where I, along with several clinicians and my constituents, consider that the decision is particularly concerning is over paediatrics.
Children will continue to be seen through the paediatric assessment unit which will be open from 8am until 10pm instead of 24 hours; and the in-patient children's beds will eventually go.
I am not at all convinced that the local requirement for these services has been fully taken into account.
Some changes were necessary in children's services but these go too far.
I have therefore written to the Health Secretary with the evidence and asked him also to instruct NHS England to review consultant-led paediatric services along with maternity.
In the recent debate on the Francis Report, I called for cross-party work on the future of health services in England, working together with patient's organisations and the health professions.
I have also strongly urged that Trust Special Administrations are not used again to tackle problems in local health services.
There are better and more co-operative ways of doing so.
By the time this article appears, the contents of the Budget will be known.
The return to economic growth is welcome and vital for sustaining public services such as the NHS.
By 2015, the budget deficit will have halved as a percentage of GDP since 2010.
The work of restoring our public finances is far from over but we have made good progress.