A STONE councillor has voiced her concerns about failures to join up healthcare across Staffordshire after an inquest was told that a patient fell into a "black hole" of care failings.
Borough councillor and Mid Staffs Health Trust governor Joyce Farnham told the Newsletter there needed to be stronger links between health bodies - not only hospitals but also community care providers.
"We do need better links because Stone tends to fall into the gap between North Staffordshire and Stafford," she said. "Good communication between the hospitals, and the community health and social work teams is vital."
Mrs Farnham attended the inquest into the death of Stone resident Audrey Wakefield to support Mrs Wakefield's daughter Anne Dicks.
Mrs Dicks told the Cannock inquest, which has been adjourned, that her mother fell into a "black hole" of care failings after suffering a serious stroke.
The inquest heard of a catalogue of problems in the care of 82-year-old Mrs Wakefield, a former teacher who was treasurer of Stone Stroke Club, after she herself suffered a stroke in January last year. They included NHS IT systems that could not communicate with each other, lack of co-ordination between hospital and community health care, a fall at a residential home, followed by a visit to A&E which appeared not to have discovered a spine fracture and head injury.
Mrs Dicks said she wanted lessons to be learned from her mother's death, and said she feared that the whole Stone area remained in the same black hole because care was not joined up between different health providers.