STAFFORD people need “a decent hospital they can rely on”, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor has said.
MP Ed Balls also stressed that routine hospital services should be close to where patients live as he discussed the future of Stafford Hospital and the lengthy journeys facing local patients travelling to hospitals in Stoke on Trent or Wolverhampton.
His comments came as he visited Staffordshire to meet local voters affected by the changes to the NHS across the county.
He also heard from Kate Godfrey, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Stafford, and Labour’s county council leader George Adamson.
Mr Balls asked to be briefed on the downgrade of Stafford Hospital, being fiercely fought locally, and on the £1.2b privatisation of cancer and end of life care in Staffordshire, Ms Godfrey said.
Mr Balls said: “We will do what it takes to protect and secure the NHS in the future.People in Stafford need a decent hospital they can rely on. That’s what we will deliver.
“What you need is regional specialisation in specialist medicine, but routine stuff you want as close as possible to where people are living. The idea of centralising everything on one site - I thought that was out of date.”