JEREMY Lefroy MP took the fight to retain services at the Stafford Hospital to the top telling Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt current plans fell 'well short'.
The Stafford MP met the secretary of state to express the views of his contituents as well as his own concerns the proposals did not provide what local people needed.
Mr Lefroy told the Newsletter: “I said that – while the proposals were an advance on those put forward in February, which advocated closure of emergency, acute and maternity services – they were still well short of what was necessary.
“Under the proposals, women would no longer be able to give birth in Stafford Hospital and paediatric (children’s) services would be substantially reduced,” said Mr Lefroy.
In addition, Mr Lefroy argued the town needed a full level three critical care unit rather than the option put forward in the plans which would see the sickest patients treated for four to six hours before being transferred elsewhere.
“The Health Secretary listened carefully and made it clear that – while he could not comment on the proposals now – he was well aware of the importance of getting them right for the people of Stafford, Cannock and the surrounding areas,” said Mr Lefroy. “I have subsequently written to Mr Hunt setting out in some detail these serious concerns together with others, such as the proposed removal of the Surgical Admissions Unit.”
Mr Lefroy also met with chief officer of Stafford and Surrounds clinical commissioning group Andrew Donald this week to discuss the group’s response to the administrators report.
He said Mr Donald told him all the members of the CCG (which includes representatives from all the GP practices in the area) were set to meet in September to put together a formal response to the consultation.
“I am pleased that the views of all GPs in the Stafford and Surrounds CCG will be included in the official response to the consultation,” Mr Lefroy said. “Local GPs are very well placed to know their patients’ needs.
Mr Lefroy said he had also expressed concerns to Mr Donald that the South Staffordshire region (which includes, Stafford, Cannock, Tamworth, Burton, Brewood, Codsall and Lichfield) has been underfunded to the extent of about £40 million per annum with £20 million of this relating to Cannock and Stafford.
He said, together with Burton MP Andrew Griffiths he had again written to the Department of Health to press for a resolution.
“I assured Mr Donald that local MPs would continue to fight for fair funding for South Staffordshire patients,” he said. “While it is right that areas of the country with serious health inequalities should receive increases in the public health funding which will help tackle those inequalities, it is also right that clinical funding should be proportionate to need – and that need is driven by age.
“Given the age profile of the population of South Staffordshire, we should be funded at somewhere close to the average for England and not well under it.”