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Jeremy Lefroy MP takes Stafford Hospital concerns to the top penning letting to PM David Cameron

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 02, 2014

By Gail Atkinson

1169225-M5_NP090113-Stafford Hosp-03
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STAFFORD MP Jeremy Lefroy is taking his concerns about plans for the town's hospital to the top.

Mr Lefroy has spent days reading through recommendations made by Stafford Hospital's trust special administrators (TSA) and has written to Prime Minister David Cameron to voice his views.

With the TSA preparing to hand over its recommendations to Monitor Mr Lefroy is also planning to write to Monitor and the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.

Monitor will spend three weeks considering the report before making their recommendations to Mr Hunt who will announce his decision at the end of February.

Mr Lefroy wants a fully functioning paediatric department and a consultant-led maternity unit.

He also says that critical care services should continue in clinical networks after Stafford joins with UHNS in Stoke.

"I've written a letter to the Prime Minister concerning the TSA report, which I read over the weekend," said Mr Lefroy.

"I had a brief, informal conversation with him on the day the report was published and he was keeping fully in touch with what was going on and was encouraging me to respond so we will see what he does."

Mr Lefroy visited the hospital's under-threat paediatric ward on Christmas Day together with the accident and emergency department and the stroke unit. Obviously morale is not great in paediatrics but they didn't let that affect them," he said.

"When you are working with children the last thing you want is to let them see you are concerned about the future.

"I particularly wanted to speak with staff on the Shugborough Ward who are understandably concerned about the future following the TSA's proposals that the paediatric assessment unit should open 14 hours a day instead of 24 and that there should no longer be paediatric in-patients.

"As usual, they were working very hard caring for the children on the ward.

"A&E has been extremely busy in recent weeks with up to 180 patients a day in the 14 hours they were operating and the stroke unit was full.

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  • DianaSmith  |  January 02 2014, 1:35PM

    I am glad that Jeremy Lefroy took the trouble to visit Shugborough ward. I know that when I visited the ward during the course of the TSA consultation I was horrified to find that the TSA had not visited the ward, and therefore had no clear picture of how they work, why they work in the way that they do, and the complex needs of the community. This seemed to me to be a major weakness in the consultation process. During the TSA process I became involved in the HEIA group - (Health equality impact assessment) and it was clear to me that we were being offered assurances about the impact of the proposed reconfiguration of Paediatrics on the basis of theoretical community services that do not currently exist. I think that many of the close observers of the TSA process have deep concerns about its effectiveness. There may be a confusion. The TSA were brought in because the hospital had financial challenges and because it, like many other small hospitals struggled to recruit and retain staff in some key positions. There may have been an element of mission creep in that the TSA seems to have ended up looking at the problems in terms of a fundamental reconfiguration of services that had not previously experienced problems. There is within some sections of the NHS a commitment to reshape the service into 15 super hospitals with satellites that have as yet an unclear purpose. That is what appears to be driving some of the decisions offered to Stafford. A point which I have tried to make as forcefully as possible is that though there is merit in offering some services at central locations, and also merit in offering an increased amount of health care in community settings, that it would be unwise to expect a community to happily accept what they will see as "downgrades" until they can see these theoretical new services working well in practice.

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