A UNIVERSITY course where nurses and midwives work placements at Stafford Hospital is thriving despite threats to downgrade the hospital and close some of the departments at which they learn their trade.
Director of student recruitment at Staffordshire University, Linda Burgess said applications to the nursing and midwifery programme had been ‘particularly buoyant’ this with a rush anticipated for the ‘very limited’ places available through Clearing on the adult nursing practice programme.
She said a special nursing hotline number had been set up, independent from the other Clearing number, to deal with the level of inquiries they anticipated for those remaining spots.
But Staffordshire University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Paul Richards told the Newsletter plans by administrators at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation that would strip Stafford Hospital of its maternity and in-patient paediatrics services, emergency surgery and downgrade critical care would directly impact the popular programmes.
“An integral part of our nursing degrees involves clinical placements which are undertaken in healthcare settings across Staffordshire and Shropshire,” he said. “The Stafford Hospital proposals, if implemented, will have an impact on placements particularly in Midwifery and Children’s nursing but also to a lesser extent in Adult nursing.”
Mr Richards said the University was actively involved in the current consultation over the administrators’ recommendations and in ‘constructive dialogue’ with as many of the parties involved as possible with a view to retaining as many services as possible at Stafford Hospital and identifying alternative placements if it became necessary.
“That includes the Trust, the Trust Special Administrators, University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy and Health Education West Midlands who commission our programmes,” said Mr Richards. “As part of the consultation, we will be emphasising the high quality education we provide as evidenced by our consistently high rating in the Guardian League Table Subject Guide and responses to the National Student Survey.”
Mr Richards said the administrators’ report said no changes would be made at the hospital prior to April 2014 and some of the proposed changed would require considerable time to implement.
“We don’t envisage any immediate changes to our course provision or our ability to recruit students,” he said.