THE Stafford Hospital trust will be dissolved but there is still hope maternity services and paediatrics will remain as the town’s MP calls for a meeting with the Prime Minister.
Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt yesterday announced the Mid-Staffs Trust would no longer exist and Stafford Hospital would come under the management of the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
Cannock Hospital will be managed by New Cross in Wolverhampton.
But Mr Hunt endorsed trust special administrators’ recommendations to keep a midwife-led maternity unit to deal with half of the borough’s births. His comments were backed by Prime Minister David Cameron in Parliament ahead of yesterday’s announcement.
Campaigners including Mr Lefroy have constantly lobbied for a consultant-led midwife unit and the plans were backed by Monitor last month. But their reaction was mixed as they heard the news.
Mr Lefroy said: “Without a doubt I will be seeking a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss it. He said they were looking very seriously at how to keep a consultant led maternity unit in Stafford. It wasn’t a guarantee but it was a statement by the Prime Minister and it is great he is putting himself on the line for that.
“Consultant led maternity means you have to have paediatricians around as well. That is why I have been focusing on that.
“Stafford is going to be a major hospital, part of a substantial trust. That means we have got a clear future. We just have these things to work on, with obstetrics and related services. But we now have a clear statement. It is a lot better than it could have been.”
Support Stafford Hospital campaigner Sue Hawkins said: “It is good news in one way but we are disappointed. We have raised concerns about the safety of services. There is going to have to be capacity for services to be moved. Capacity is an issue at the moment at UHNS, Wolverhampton and Walsall.”
Fellow Support Stafford Hospital campaigner Cheryl Porter added: “It does give a little sign of hope but what has been rubber stamped is just what we have said right from the beginning. It is unacceptable for a community of this size. We still have to keep going. It is not the end.
Maggie Oldham, chief executive at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I hope that today’s announcement by the Secretary of State will give staff assurance that they have a part to play in the future of health services for patients in Staffordshire.
“I would like to pay tribute to all the staff at our hospitals who continue to focus on delivering safe and compassionate care for our patients, despite the difficulties and uncertainty they have faced.
“Mid Staffs has come a long way over the past few years and I am very proud of all of our staff and what they have achieved.
“I would also like to remind patients that we are still working as usual and that they should please keep their appointments and keep using the services provided at Stafford and Cannock Chase Hospitals”