HEALTH chiefs admitted they would have “lost before they started” if they failed to listen to local concerns over the future of services in Stafford.
A working group organised by the town’s MP Jeremy Lefroy met representatives from health regulator Monitor to discuss how they could work with the team reviewing Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
Lead of the Contingency Planning Team, parachuted in to resolve the cash crisis at the trust, Steve Kirby said it was clear the working group could be beneficial to the review team which had to rely on statutory organisations already engaging with the community to inform their review.
“We have got a limited amount of time to do what is a large amount of work,” he said. “We are coming at this from the perspective that if we don’t engage with interested parties then we have lost before we have started.”
Mr Kirby said the review would be conducted in two phases and look at five distinct areas, defining what ‘protected services’ in the area needed to be, looking at the financial, clinical and operational sustainability of Mid Staffs, future options for delivery of services, programme management and stake holder engagement and communication.
Mr Lefroy said it was vital the working group engaged with Monitor to ensure the views Stafford people were represented and suggested drafting a response to Monitor’s broader consultation into defining which services should be considered 'protected'.
“The future health needs and the current health needs of the local population must be met,” he said. “It may be that what Monitor come up with at the end is unacceptable or partly unacceptable, but at least we will have engaged with it.”
The first phase of the Monitor review is due to report at the end of November with a final more detailed recommendation scheduled for February 2013.