MPs join battle to save Cannock Chase Hospital

Health and social care community services, including GP surgeries and walk-in clinics, should be moved to a Staffordshire hospital to secure its long-term future, an MP claimed today.

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Cannock Chase Conservative MP Aidan Burley has set out his case over the future of Cannock Chase Hospital to bosses at health watchdog Monitor on how the hospital can be “fully utilised”. Monitor has launched a review into long-term health services provided at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

In a letter to Monitor’s chief executive Dr David Bennett, he says the closure of Cannock Hospital cannot be an option and suggests it could provide “urgent care services” to take the pressure off neighbouring hospitals.

Mr Burley said there had been a gradual downgrading and closure of key services at Cannock, prompting fears it could close, and the hospital is now operating at around 40 per cent capacity.

He has called on Cannock Chase District Council to investigate the feasibility of buying a controlling stake in the hospital to help protect the facility, claiming the authority could buy the estate and lease back part of it to the trust.

He said: “Many services currently provided to local people could be delivered from the hospital, including those delivered by the district and county council, GPs and other primary care providers. Ideally, these would all be health and social care related; however there is no reason that, for example, a number of council offices could not be located in the hospital, if that secured the future of the building.”

He stressed that the hospital is a “community facility” and around £1.5 million was raised by local people so it could be built in the 1980s.

He said: “Local people appreciate what a fantastic facility Cannock Hospital is, and how good services such as rheumatology, orthopaedics and eye surgery are.”

He claimed the building was modern, in very good order and had many years of life left in it.

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust posted a loss of around £20m last year.