STAFFORDSHIRE’S council boss has criticised administrator’s plans for Stafford Hospital, saying the finances still don’t add up and a single integrated trust would have been preferable.
Councillor Philip Atkins said plans to dissolve Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust announced this were financially fragile and could have a negative impact on care across the county.
He said he had serious concerns over the long-term stability of the new arrangements and the whole public sector purse would have to work harder to deliver quality health and social care.
“From the outset we have recognised the serious position the trust was in and the administrators have faced a hugely difficult challenge in trying to put forward a set of recommendations where the sums just didn’t add up,” said councillor Atkins. “We have challenged their assumptions around areas such as maternity and I am pleased that they have listened to ourselves and the overwhelming call from residents to establish a midwife led unit in Stafford.
“However, the administrators themselves recognise that the funding of services will not meet the costs of providing these services by 2017 – so it is crucial that we all work hard to deliver more integrated effective care in the community and less acute care in hospitals.”
Mr Atkins said a shift away from hospital care to investment in prevention, early intervention and more integrated care in the community was the only proper long-term ‘affordable solution’.
“With such huge financial pressures hanging over the new proposals, it is essential that the support network of health and social care is funded and in place if these new arrangements are going to be sustainable beyond the short to medium term.
“While the proposals are certainly not perfect and we still believe a single integrated trust offers the best option for Staffordshire, they do offer an opportunity to really look at delivering tailored integrated health and social care in a new and more effective way.
“In these tough economic times, we are all facing increasing costs around adult social care on the back of further savings too so it is essential we all pull together to make maximum use of the £7.5 billion public purse in Staffordshire.”
Councillor Atkins said news the administrators had listened to residents and altered their plans to include a mid-wife led maternity unit, a paediatric assessment unit tied to the A&E department at the trust and a critical care department that will support some patients remaining in Stafford, was welcome.
The final report has now been submitted to healthcare regulator Monitor who have until January 16 to consider it before submitting it to Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt who will make the final decision on the future arrangement by February 24.