SUPPORT Stafford Hospital's protest camp has sent an open letter to health secretary Jeremy Hunt urging him to intervene over the closure of the town's obstetric- led maternity unit.
Protesters, who have been camped outside the hospital for more than 40 days, are inviting Mr Hunt to meet them as a matter of urgency.
Here is their letter:
Dear Mr Hunt,
Following on from the announcement that both maternity and paediatric services at Stafford Hospital are to be transferred in the early part of 2015, a move which we think is being made in great haste, we feel it is time for you to visit the people of Stafford.
At your recent meeting with Jeremy Lefroy MP on Monday, August 4, it was agreed that no services would be moved without a double lock system. This meant that no services were to be transferred without management from both hospitals agreeing that capacity was ready and that an independent body would also review the movements before implementation. This has not happened.
The Trust Special Administrators' projected a timescale of two to three years for the safe transition of services; this transition was approved and signed by you personally. Why therefore is our obstetric led maternity unit being removed on January 16, 2015 and our in-patient paediatric unit being transferred in March 2015?
Please also note that both maternity and paediatrics have full staffing levels, neither of these departments had any issues during the ‘dark times’ at Stafford Hospital, so why are these departments and the staff that work in them being treated like this? Robert Francis said Stafford people should not suffer like this ever again and that Stafford Hospital should be a beacon of health care.
We demand that you intervene personally to stop this rushed and flawed process. The mantra is "patient safety is paramount". University Hospital North Staffordshire simply does not have capacity in place, this fact has been proven by their figures of only getting 65 per cent of people through their Accident & Emergency department within four hours during the month of July.
At the time of writing we have been camping outside Stafford Hospital for 42 days. We invite you with urgency to meet with us regarding our concerns.
The Stafford Hospital Protest Camp