PLANS announced this week which will ‘fundamentally change’ Stafford Hospital could even see the current site demolished and potentially moved to a new location.
In an exclusive interview, David Bennett, chairman of healthcare regulator Monitor, told the Newsletter the experts who prepared the recommendations released this week had already taken “a cursory look” at the possibility of relocating the hospital.
Dr Bennett said the recommendations did not specify a hospital needed to continue to be provided on the current site.
“I think what we will need to look at is resizing the site in some way,” he said. “In Stafford there are already some issues about the cost of the estate.
“I think it needs effectively to finish up on a smaller footprint, and there are obviously some one-off costs of doing that.
“They will - and already have to some extent - looked at what is the cheaper thing to do,” said Dr Bennett.“I don’t know if it’s best to move it or just demolish it and
rebuild on that site.” “But they do need to look at that option. “Obviously what matters is that there is a
hospital in Stafford providing the sort of services we’re talking about but it doesn’t have to be in that exact location.”
Responding to criticism by members of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust’s board that they had not been involved in drafting the recommendations Dr Bennett said he thought there was still time to engage with them.
“For the next stage the Trust Special Administrators (TSA) will be given a strong steer that they really need to draw on the knowledge and the expertise of the non- execs, and the governors. We really need to work harder at getting to people.”
Dr Bennett said it was a “shame” to have missed the opportunity to benefit from the expertise of the two non-executive directors who resigned last week and said if they had talked to him he would have reassured them their knowledge was important.