STAFFORD Hospital campaigners have vowed to fight on after losing their latest legal battle against the controversial loss of services at the town’s hospital.
A judge at Birmingham’s High Court has rejected their appeal against the refusal of a judicial review into the dissolution of the Mid Staffs Hospitals NHS Trust and the move of some acute services to hospitals in Stoke and Wolverhampton.
Support Stafford Hospital campaigner Cheryl Porter said the court had made a “horrendous” decision. But she added: “We will fight on, and the protest camp is there to stay. We simply can’t give up – there is too much at stake.
“We have thousands of people in Stafford who still need these acute services. And the other hospitals need Stafford to retain its services, because of the knock-on impact on their workload and patients if Stafford’s acute care is lost.
“This is about people’s lives and I found it deplorable that the court talked about it in such a matter of fact way. There was no mention at all about the potential risk to life.”
Meanwhile Kate Godfrey, Labour prospective parliamentary candidate for Stafford, who also had a judicial review bid rejected, accused the government of a “stitch up” by altering the rules on judicial reviews to stifle protest campaigns.
She said a judicial review application by London hospital campaigners earlier this year, on similar legal grounds to the Stafford bids, had been upheld by the courts – but the law had changed in a matter of months.
“We feel really let down and angry,” Ms Godfrey said. “People have to be given a way to hold the government to account. We need to get the law back to where it was before, so that we can have a voice.”
A spokesman for the Trust Special Administrators at Mid Staffs commented: “We note the court’s decision. We are continuing to work closely with our partners to carry out the TSA plan, which was widely consulted upon last summer, to dissolve the Trust and transfer the management of its services by early November 2014.
“The timely completion of the process is in the best interests of patients who deserve sustainable, high quality services.”