A ROW over what services are offered at Stafford Hospital’s under-threat children’s department is “a definitional issue”, says one of the trust special administrators.
The recommendation to strip Stafford Hospital of in-patient paediatric services came under fire almost immediately when head of children’s services Kim Wooliscroft, accused administrators of getting facts wrong at the first public consultation meeting at the County Showground.
“You stated quite clearly that we did not carry out children’s surgical procedures at Stafford Hospital,” she said. “We carried out 1,034 last year.”
Joint administrator, Professor Hugo-Mascie Taylor, said the “confusion” was a “definitional issue” based around the distinction between paediatric surgery and surgery on children.
He said paediatric surgery was the only one of ten surgical specialities defined by the patient’s age rather than condition, and was concerned with diseases, trauma and malformations from birth to teenage years, with only 29 centres in the UK per- forming such procedures, Stafford Hospital not being one of them.
Surgery on children he said, was defined by the patient’s condition and not age, and included procedures like tonsillec- tomies, which are currently carried out at Stafford and would continue to be on a day-case basis under the proposals.
However, an FOI response, made by Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust on March 25 this year states “the trust does perform elective paediatric surgery”.
It goes on to say four adult surgeons at the trust with paediatric interests as their primary speciality and five ear, nose and throat surgeons with paediatric interest carry out surgery on mixed lists with a paediatric anaesthetist on patients as young as two.
Addressing the contents of the FOI response, a spokesman for the administrators said: “Stafford Hospital does not have a paediatric surgical department.
“Adult surgeons in some surgical specialities see and offer surgical treatment to children with a problem within their area of surgical expertise,” she said. “For example ENT surgeons may do tonsillec- tomies on children as well as adults.
“This type of surgery takes place in Stafford. When surgical procedures like tonsillectomies are carried out they are coded to the speciality, in the case of tonsillectomies this would be to ENT.
“The administrators are currently working with the staff at Stafford Hospital to discuss how surgery on children has been coded,” she said.
“The actual number of operations under review is relatively small and does not impact on the TSAs’