STAFFORD Hospital may lose its maternity and obstetrics service - at least temporarily - whatever the result of the government’s current review, civic leaders have been told.
The service cannot keep going without acute surgery and anaesthetics back-up - and both are “really, really fragile” at Stafford Hospital, the borough council’s health scrutiny committee was told.
“You can’t have an obstetrics and maternity unit on its own,” Stafford and Surrounds CCG chief executive Andy Donald told councillors.
“You have to have lots of support services, and a number of those are really fragile.
“It was so easy for the Health Secretary to add a paragraph to add a paragraph on obstetrics and maternity to the final report, but nobody understood the clinical ramifications of that. All these things are interconected.”
He said that if acute surgery was deemed unsafe it would have to be moved to Stoke - and that would have a knock-on effect, meaning the end of the maternity service too, on safety grounds.
Maternity might come back to Stafford in future, “but at the moment it is looking extremely unlikely from the patient safety point of view”, he added.
CCG chair Dr Anne-Marie Houlder said Stafford was running on tight surgical rota that was “not sustainable” for the future and was struggling to recruit general surgeons or even to find locums with the right level of experience.
“People don’t want Stafford on their CV,” she said.