A petition has been launched against plans to hand control of Stafford Hospital to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
Under draft plans proposed by the Trust Special Administrators, Stafford Hospital is set to lose its maternity and inpatient paediatrics wards, while its critical care unit will be downgraded.
The shake-up of services will also see the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke-on-Trent take over the running of Stafford. UHNS says it will require more than £125 million to bring Stafford up to scratch and extend Stoke to take on extra patients.
Campaigners say the Government should provide ‘whatever funding is necessary’ to keep the running of Stafford Hospital and UHNS separate.
So far 250 signatures have been gathered since the online petition went live last week.
Petition organiser Geoff Small said: “As it becomes ever more apparent that UHNS has large debts of its own, we suspect that the impetus to take over or merge with Stafford Hospital is driven by a need to acquire Stafford’s budget, rather than any grand scheme to improve the clinical wellbeing of patients from our area.
“Indeed, evidence suggests that in some instances, particularly maternity, we will end up receiving services of a poorer standard at UHNS.”
And he warned there would also be a risk that people may die in the back of ambulances on the journey between Stafford and Stoke, especially young children.
He added they were also concerned about what would happen if UHNS got taken over by another trust.
Under the administrators’ proposals, the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs New Cross Hospital, would take over the running of Cannock Chase Hospital. Bosses at Walsall Manor Hospital have launched talks with New Cross as they are also keen to take on services.