A FAMILY who have joined the Stafford Hospital protest camp say they are fighting to keep “vital” children’s health and emergency services in the town for the sake of their youngsters.
Louise and Stuart Nixon’s three children, Jessica-Louise, who celebrates her seventh birthday on Friday, Marissa, aged three, and Charlotte, aged nine months, have all been treated at the hospital.
And the Wildwood couple, both aged 39, say the older two girls still depend on continuing hospital treatment.
Jessica-Louise has a disability which required physiotherapy and operations on her foot, while little Marissa suffers from asthma. Meanwhile Charlotte needed help with feeding in her first weeks, after a “perfect” birth at Stafford Hospital.
“We simply can’t understand the proposals to move maternity and children’s services to Stoke,” said Mrs Nixon, who has been visiting the protest camp in Stafford Hospital’s grounds regularly since it started last Friday.
“I’d like the people who made this decision to experience what we have to go through – trying to cope with a child having a serious asthma attack when you know that the A&E department on your doorstep is closed overnight.
“We are very fearful about what may happen if children’s services move as well. Long journeys to Stoke or Wolverhampton could cost children’s lives in an emergency.”
Mrs Nixon said the proposals also underestimated the impact on families in terms of upheaval and expense from having to travel further for routine appointments. She said traveling to Oxford for specialist hospital treatment for her eldest daughter had cost the family £100 in train fares alone, and regular trips to Stoke would also mount up costs.
She also praised the care given in Stafford Hospital’s maternity unit and children’s wards. “The staff are wonderful,” she said. “It makes all the difference having good people around you that you know and can trust.”