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No split say Stafford Hospital campaigners as councillor quits

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: May 29, 2014

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A SECOND judicial review into the stripping of services at Stafford Hospital has been lodged, the Newsletter can reveal.

The latest application was made yesterday by a member of the public and is personally backed by two leading members of Support Stafford Hospital but not by the group itself.

The news comes as Stafford Borough Councillor Rowan Draper announced today he is quitting the campaign group because of differing views about whether or not to pursue a judicial review but he denied there was a split in the group.

It follows an application lodged last week by Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Kate Godfrey.

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The applications were submitted at the end of the three-month period since Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt put the findings of trust special administrators before Parliament on February 26.

The TSA recommended the dissolution of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, a 16-hour a day Accident and Emergency and the end of consultant led maternity.

Cheryl Porter of Support Stafford Hospital said she and her colleague Karen Howells were personally supporting the new application.

“We are asking to keep our consultant led maternity, that’s why the judicial review has been lodged. Karen and I fully support this local woman. Our personal opinion is this is the only way forward to fight the process we are going through.

“What this woman has done is outside her comfort zone but she knows it’s the last thing she can give to save the services of her hospital. That’s why Karen and I have said we are going to be with her all the way along. She has put herself on the line.”

Councillor Draper said: "I firmly believe the way forward is a Judicial Review challenging the decision made by The Secretary of State for Health. Support Stafford Hospital have not decided to follow this path. I have therefore decided to resign.

“I wish the group well. I will continue to support the campaign to retain acute services in Stafford. Our community deserves better and I will continue to fight for that goal."

Ms Porter added: “There’s no split. I’m sad that Rowan has walked away, I’m really sad because he has been a big part of the organisation from way back. But he still wants to give his support – it’s definitely not a split.”

SSH chairman Sue Hawkins said: “It’s not a course of action the group have chosen to pursue. We have had independent advice and we feel the best course of action is to look at other legal options. We are all still members and we are all united in the aim of achieving the best possible for our hospital.”

Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy spoke to Simon Stevens, the new chief executive of NHS England, this week and said he had had a “sympathetic” hearing.

Speaking about the lates judicial review he said: “I personally have not supported the judicial review because I continue not to think that it’s the right way to go forward because of the instability it brings to an already quite difficult situation.

“We are all aiming at the same thing, the best possible local services.”

Last week Kate Godfrey submitted an application for a judicial review saying: “A precedent is being set which should frighten anyone who values their local hospital. It frightens us. More than 90 per cent of people in Stafford say they are very worried about the consequences of having to travel to Stoke to seek critical care."

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