AN EMOTIONALLY charged meeting of the board at Stafford Hospital met in the wake of news healthcare regulator Monitor is set to appoint a special administrator at the trust.
Members of the board expressed anger, disappointment and sadness over the decision with one saying he only learnt of the announcement when he checked the Newsletter's website and two others tendering their resignation following the news.
Non-executive director Dennis Heywood called the decision 'disgraceful'.
"It wasn't that long ago that David Cameron stood in the houses of parliament and said how important it was that the NHS was an open and transparent place," he said. "That I only found out about this decision from the Newsletter's website is particularly concerning."
"I find it quite disappointing personally," he said. "We could have been dealt with in a more reasonable manner. I think it's disgraceful honestly."
Mr Heywood said the details provided by Monitor regarding the announcement talked a lot about money and very little about patients.
"I seem to remember we have been here before and I only hope we are not headed down a route where in a three or four years time we are finding we are no longer providing the patient outcomes we do today," he said. "I have a real concern that under any administrator things don't start to operate behind closed doors again.
"Public board meetings must continue to be held in public by whoever runs this organisation in the coming months."
Dr Lynne Hulme said she had joined the board five months previously as a non executive director, only four days before Monitor appointed the contingency planning team (CPT) and began the review into the trust's future.
"I have been absolutely marginalised and made to feel irrelevant ever since," she said. "The CPT has spent five months reshaping the services in Cannock and Stafford and I have not got a clue what those services are going to look like.
"We talk about the importance of putting patients first, of openness and of transparency," she said. "I have seen none of that from the CPT, they have held meetings behind closed.
Dr Hulme said in light of the announcement she was tendering her resignation from the board.
Eleanor Chumley-Roberts, another non-executive director, also resigned in response to the announcement.
"I personally feel very disappointed at the changes," she said. "I intend to resign from the board as of today."
Following the meeting deputy chief executive Maggie Oldham said she wanted to emphasise in the strongest possible terms that board's focus remained on delivering care to its patients.
"We want to reassure our patients and all the local community that we will continue to put our patients first throughout this challenging period," she said. "We regret that the announcement by Monitor has resulted in the resignation of two of our Non-Executive Directors, Eleanor Chumley-Roberts and Dr Lynne Hulme.
"We would like to thank them for the service they have given to the Trust."