The future of health services in Staffordshire

This week saw the report and recommendations from the Administrators at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, published on Wednesday and from all the coverage you will know it’s been recommended that the Trust be dissolved. The report also recommended that a restructure of how healthcare is delivered takes place at both Stafford and Cannock Hospitals

It’s been proposed that Stafford Hospital would retain its 14 hours seven-day-a-week A&E service, but lose critical care, maternity and paediatric in-patient services to other hospitals. Cannock Hospital would see increased services with assistance from the Royal Wolverhampton Trust.

I have to say there were no huge surprises in the proposals and I am particularly pleased to see that, despite people’s fears, Cannock hospital remains open and Stafford Hospital will continue to run an A&E department.

I know that people in Stafford will be disappointed at the loss of some services, particularly the maternity service, and I urge people to get involved in the consultation so that proper consideration is given to the maintenance of a midwife led maternity unit in Stafford. It is crucial that as many people engage with the consultation as possible, unless all of our voices are heard we cannot hope to change the administrator’s mind-set.

Like everyone, we will be looking at the proposals in detail over the next few days and considering our response over the coming weeks. We need to be convinced that changes to acute hospital services are viable, sustainable and deliver the quality care that the people of Staffordshire deserve. Although the recommendation is to dissolve Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, it will be the Secretary of State’s call on whether it is replaced with another trust.

To have your say in these consultations – and I urge everyone to do so – please visit http://tsa-msft.org.uk/consultation/.

At the same time our work to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the county continues and we set up the Staffordshire Health and Wellbeing board in April. We wanted to ensure that people are heard in the decisions on healthcare that affect them. I’ve often said, people speaking with one voice must drive our approach to care services.

That board currently has a consultation on its Living Well in Staffordshire vision, a five year plan that sets out how people will be healthy, safe and prosperous with the opportunities to live their life in a strong, safe and supportive community.

This is a real opportunity for people to have their say and will be the basis for the priorities of the Health and Wellbeing Board, who will deliver the plan. It’s important that the strategy truly reflects the needs and views of the people of Staffordshire. We need to hear people’s opinions to bring the plan together and make it work.

To take part in the consultation, which is open until September 6th, people can send in their views to the www.engagingcommunitiesstaffordshire.co.uk website or by email at: contactus@conversationstaffordshire.co.uk or by telephone on 0800 051 8371.

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