Staffordshire NHS leaders are planning a series of meetings with Stafford Hospital staff next week, as the University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UHNS) prepares to merge its services with the troubled Mid-Staffordshire trust.
UHNS chief executive Mark Hackett is leading a top team in a series of with staff at Stafford Hospital, signalling the start of what he says will be a new era in the history of the NHS in Staffordshire.
He will be joined by University Hospital's chairman John MacDonald, Chief Nurse Liz Rix and Medical Director Robert Courteney-Harris on their first formal tour of wards and departments.
This will be hosted by the Trust Special Administrators (TSAs), Maggie Oldham, chief executive of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust (MSFT) and other MSFT representatives. They will also join the UHNS team in meetings with consultants and nursing staff as well as question and answer sessions with wider groups of staff.
UHNS will become responsible for the running and management of Stafford Hospital following the recent decision by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to dissolve the Mid Staffs trust.
Mark said: "Now is the time to build for the future. The Health Secretary's decision paves the way for a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop world class healthcare and services for the patients and populations of Staffordshire.
Mr Hackett said the aim was to create "a regional centre of excellence" across the two sites.
Capital investment of approximately £91 million, which is part of the £130 million of funding for capital spending referred to in the TSAs’ final report, will be made in Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford over a number of years. Approximately £50 million will be invested at City General Hospital in Stoke-on-Trent for new wards, new critical care facilities and additional car parking.
Mr Hackett said that he and his team would be discussing a raft of early improvements with Stafford Hospital staff next week. These will include capital investments to "remodel" A&E in Stafford and bring it together with GP Out of Hours (OOH) to create an integrated GP OOH/A&E service in Stafford.
Meanwhile chairman John MacDonald confirmed that University Hospital would be involving staff at both hospitals in discussions for name changes, adding: "University Hospital has been considering a change of name for the Trust for some time to reflect the move from three sites to a single site at City General in Stoke-on-Trent. The creation of a newly integrated Trust will present an ideal opportunity for new names not only for the Trust but also for both hospitals."