31 Jul 2013

Crisis-hit Mid Staffs hospital trust ‘to be dissolved’

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust will be dissolved and critical care, maternity and paediatric services at Stafford Hospital cut under health administrators’ proposals.

Future of Mid Staffs hospital trust to be unveiled

The hospital will keep its current part-time accident and emergency department but will lose other services in a major shake-up.

Trust Special Administrators (TSA), appointed by the Department of Health in April, said in their report outlining the proposals that “there is no alternative but to make significant change” at Stafford and neighbouring Cannock Chase Hospital.

In April, the trust became the first ever foundation trust to be put into administration.

Stafford Hospital was at the centre of a major public inquiry after it was found that poor care could have led to the deaths of hundreds of patients as a result of maltreatment and neglect.

The inquiry highlighted the “appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people” at the trust and probes into the scandal revealed that many patients were left lying in their own urine and excrement for days, forced to drink water from vases or given the wrong medication.

Major shake-up

Among services which are proposed to stay at Stafford are elective surgery, adult inpatient care, as well as out-patient and diagnostic appointments, all of which will be largely unaffected by the shake-up.

Healthcare currently provided at Cannock Chase Hospital should also stay as it is, according to the administrators’ recommendations.

The report’s authors say that without major change “future local patient safety is at stake” pointing to the trust’s small size as one reason why care at the trust in its current form cannot safely continue, long-term.

It is also proposing the trust is dissolved and the hospitals be run by neighbouring trusts, in a bid to save money.

The administrators said smaller trusts like Mid Staffordshire can neither hire or retain enough specialist doctors to give patients the proper standard of clinical care, while the NHS nationally is already moving towards a model providing larger specialist centres.

Last year, the Department of Health had to give the trust £20m to maintain patient service, with the report’s authors stating “the trust is already spending far more than it earns”.

Proposed changes over two to three years

The TSA came up with its draft recommendations after discussions with patient groups, the public and clinicians including hospital trusts in Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton, and the local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) – which buy in health services for the area.

If the proposals go ahead, it is anticipated the services identified to be migrated from Stafford Hospital will have moved across to neighbouring hospitals in the region within two or three years.

Those services will instead be provided in the main by the University of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, and The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, although the TSA has identified other healthcare providers interested in taking on some aspects of care.

The consultation starts on 6 August, and is running until 1 October.


, ,