A STAFFORD health campaigner has said there is no possibility regulators looking at Stafford Hospital's sustainability could decide to close it.
We won't let Stafford Hospital close says health campaigner
Written byRobin Scott
Diana Smith, of Save Stafford Hospital said while the media would inevitably get excited by Monitor's report labelling Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust unsustainable it was less dramatic than it sounded.
"It does not come as a surprise to anyone who has been keeping a close eye on what is going on," she said. "To put it in context there are many hospitals all over the country that are either 'unsustainable' or will soon become 'unsustainable'."
She said it was all part of a drive to cut the costs of the health service and to centralise some elements of health care into specialist 'centres of excellence'.
"The way that health care is being delivered is changing," said Mrs Smith. "We need to understand why this is happening and work out where it is right to support change and where it should be challenged."
She said she had questions over the way acute medicine was currently funded, why so many A&Es were being deemed unsustainable, over the proliferation of specialisms and judgements over the level of demand.
"How can we make a rational decision about the real level of demand for Mid Staffs until the Francis report is well out of the way?" she said.
Mrs Smith said Monitor now had to consider how the health needs of local people would be met and how the future of Stafford Hospital could be put on a sustainable footing.
"There is no possibility that they could close the hospital," she said. "We as the people who use the hospital would simply not permit that to happen, and in any case the neighbouring hospitals are in no position to take up the slack.
"If there needs to be change then it is essential that we make sure it is the change we all want."
She said the most likely future would be a closer working relationship with University Hospitals of North Stafford but working towards developing a more integrated model of care could prove the best solution for the many elderly patients in the local population.
Mrs Smith urged anyone interested in the future of healthcare in the town to attend the Stafford Hospital Working Group Meeting tonight at Elim Christian Centre, Stafford from 7.30pm.
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